By Shedrack Frank
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the state placed third at the end of the festival with 56 gold, 55 silver and 58 bronze, a feat it achieved for the first time in its history at the festival.
Receiving the contingent at the entrance to Government House, Diri congratulated them for making the state proud of their spectacular performance.
He urged the athletes to start preparations for the next festival scheduled for Delta in 2022 and pledged to give them the support they need for a better outing.
Diri described as trivial and unverified allegations that the state has been denied certain medals for the state of origin and the nationality of some of its athletes.
He said his natives represented the state at the festival and that there was no ounce of truth in such claims.
“Allow me on behalf of the government and the good people of Bayelsa to congratulate you. Not only did you make yourself proud, but you also made the people of Bayelsa and, indeed, the Ijaw race proud.
“This is just the beginning. Coming in third, you received an eagle trophy. What that tells you is that you have to go get the eagle next time.
“So, preparations for the next festival will resume from tomorrow. This is the only way you can beat your record again next year when you go for NSF in Delta.
“When you were about to leave, I gave you a charge. While I was the Youth and Sports Commissioner between 2006 and 2007, we had a record. For the first time, Bayelsa clinched the fourth position at the NSF in Abeokuta.
“My responsibility to you was to beat this record. Today you made me proud by beating this record. In Bayelsa’s story, you came home with an NSF trophy.
“We will announce a date on which your government will officially receive you. For now, welcome and congratulations to Youth and Sports Development Commissioner Daniel Igali, the Sports Director, to the other officials, to the coaches and to our great athletes, ”he said.
Introducing the 300 athletes as well as the officials, Igali said the state has won gold in virtually every event he has attended.
According to Igali, the Bayelsa team exceeded everyone’s expectations, including his own, that of the directors and management of the Sports Ministry.
He said one of the female athletes, Ifiezibe Gagbe, single-handedly won 8 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze, totaling 15 medals in swimming.
The commissioner, who presented the trophy won by the contingent to the governor, said the state was ready to surpass the feat at the next festival.
He thanked the Governor for the massive support and motivation of the team before and during the matches in Edo. (NOPE)
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