By Nicholas Obisike
The Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reports that Enugu State placed 22nd on the final table with seven medals including three gold, one silver and three bronze.
Meanwhile, the athletes, who spoke to NAN on Friday in Enugu,
blamed their poor performance at the event on insufficient government engagement.
One of the athletes, Silver Ezeikpe, noted that the state government must do everything it can to retain its top athletes.
Ezeikpe, who is the head coach of Para Athletic but who competed and won the gold medal at the festival, said the state contingent did not have good preparation for the event.
He said, however, that the athletes performed well given their level of preparedness and the government’s inability to take good care of them before and during the festival.
According to him, the athletes did well as they won seven medals at the NSF.
He said the 2021 edition of the NSF was the first time that athletes in the state have won up to seven medals.
Ezeikpe said the state competed in five sports, adding that the para-athletes won two medals.
In addition, Kelly Obayemi, a super heavy boxer, called on the state government to take good care of their athletes for better performance to come.
Obayemi, who won the silver medal in super heavyweight boxing, said he felt sad about losing the final fight.
Obayemi said some of the athletes would have done better if some officials from the state Sports Ministry had accompanied them to the event.
When contacted, a director of the ministry, Boniface Onovo, said the state government was able to meet 80% of the athletes’ needs before they left for the NSF.
Onovo said the state was represented by 50 delegates made up of 38 athletes and 12 officials.
“Our performance this year is much better than the previous ones as we only won one medal in each outing. Our athletes surprised us because we haven’t had it so well for many years, ”said Onovo. (NOPE)
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