Predictably, Delta State has won the 18th National Sports Festival which ended last night at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos last night.
Delta topped the medal table with 114 gold, 99 silver and 75 bronze medals.
Team Rivers that posed the biggest threat to Delta throughout the festival was second with 76 gold, 71 silver and 70 bronze medals while hosts, Lagos State finished third with a medal haul of 64 gold, 47 silver and 44 bronze.
Traditional strong contenders, Edo finished a distant fourth with 25 gold, 23 silver and 44 bronze medals. Bayelsa State made a strong presence by finishing fifth with a total of 58 medals. A bread own shows 19 gold, 17 silver and 22 bronze medals.
Ondo State with 18 gold, 12 silver and 28 bronze placed 6th while Ogun finished 7th with 15 gold, 22 silver and 31 bronze medals. The next hosts, Cross River State put up a sterling performance, finishing 8th with 12 gold, 14 silver and 23 bronze medals.
TEAM Delta has emerged winner of the 18th National Sports Festival, Eko 2012 which ended on Sunday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, amid pomp and ceremony.
Delta amassed 116 gold, 97 silver and 75 bronze medals to dethrone Team Rivers which finished second with 76 gold, 71 silver and 71 bronze medals while the host, Team Lagos placed third with 65 gold, 47 silver and 71 bronze medals.
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and his wife Roli, were on hand to witness another historic moment by his athletes who reclaimed the title they last won at KADA 2009.
Meanwhile, Delta State government will cough up about N222million as cash incentives for the Eko 2012 medallists.
Uduaghan had promised to reward each gold medallist with N1million, N750,000 for a silver medal while a bronze medal will be rewarded with N500,000, just as the medals eventually clinched by Team Delta at Eko 2012 would attract over N222million.
Other members of the team without medal would also be rewarded as well as officials of the victorious side.
Team Delta also picked the prize money of N20million promised by the Federal Government during the opening ceremony of the Games as Team Rivers which came second goes home with N15million, while Team Lagos settles for the prize money of N10million for coming third.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Minister of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan, expressed satisfaction with the organisation of the Games.
Earlier, Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr Patrick Ekeji, noted that the Games was historic as all the states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja went home with medals, saying that “at Eko 2012, everybody is a winner.”
Meanwhile, GOVERNOR Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State on Sunday in Lagos led the state’s contingent to the 18th National Sports Festival, to The Redeemed Church of God (TREM), Gbagada - Lagos for a thanksgiving service as the team savours the joy of emerging tops at the fiesta.
Uduaghan said at the event that though Team Delta prepared well for the national fiesta, it was imperative for the contingent to seek the face of God “before, during and after the games.”
He recalled that on arrival in Lagos, Team Delta was at the same church to ask for God’s favour and protection, noting that the overwhelming victory of the team was an indication of the mercies and grace of God.
“We are here because God has been gracious to us in the last few weeks. God granted us journey mercies and as the games progressed, the medals difference between Delta and the second-placed State continued to widen.
The gap is overwhelming”, he stated.
The Governor, who was accompanied by the wife, Roli, and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, particularly commended the efforts of the physically-challenged athletes, stressing that in spite of the complexity of Delta as a State, they were able to distinguish themselves and win valuable gold medals for the State.
Said he: “These athletes have proven that disability does not retard ability”, and thanked Presiding Bishop of TREM, Dr Mike Okonkwo for praying for the State and Team Delta.
On his part, Bishop Okonkwo commended Delta State Government for investing heavily in sports noting it has paid off.
He was particularly delighted that in spite of the abundance of talents coupled with her dominance of sports in Nigeria, Delta State has always honoured God, knowing that without God nothing can be achieved.
However, the Bishop decried the general standard of sports in the country blaming it on the politicization of sporting administration and sports activities.
He cautioned against politicizing sports, arguing that it was responsible for why America’s Michael Phelps could become world best swimmer when Nigeria has millions of people living in the riverine areas of the country and nowhere to be reckoned with.
The chairman of the State Sports Commission, Mr Amaju Pinnick, who attributed Team Delta’s victory to discipline, hardwork and prayers said after all the preparations, there was need for prayers to actualize the desire.
He said the Team Delta has set a record by amassing 114 gold medals in the Eko 2012 Festivals as at Saturday (Dec 8, 2012), and thanked Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan for his support for the Team as well as for the commitment to sports development in the State.
Final medals table
State G S B Total
States G S B Total
Delta 114 99 75 228
Rivers 76 71 70 217
Lagos 64 47 71 182
Edo 25 23 44 92
Bayelsa 19 17 22 58
Ondo 18 12 28 58
OGUN 15 22 31 68
Article Views: 177 YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME BUT WELCOME THE COMMENTS OF OTHERS TOO .