From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Delta State Government has said athletes who represented the state in the just concluded 20th National Sports Festival (NSF) were not imported but bonafide citizens of the state.
The state contingent to the sports tournament, which held last month in Benin City, the Edo State capital, came tops with a total medal haul of 394, consisting of 158 gold, 126 silver and 110 bronze.
It was the sixth consecutive time Team Delta was overall champions in the games, fuelling speculation that the state government was engaging the services of mercenaries to retain the trophy.
Delta State Commissioner for Information Charles Aniagwu, debunking such speculations in Asaba, said the state was enormously blessed with talents in various fields to even consider importing ‘mercenaries’ to prosecute sporting competitions.
‘People are raising the issue of mercenaries because we have won them again. Let me tell you that the girl who won nine gold medals in 2018 is from Ukwuani Local Government Area.
‘This state is blessed with talents in sports and even in education, and we should be giving God the glory for making us unique,’ he said.
Aniagwu added that the state’s athletes were adequately motivated to give their best, noting that every promise made by the governor was always redeemed.
‘In 2019, the governor rewarded the winners. And before the contingent for the 20th edition left Asaba, the governor also promised to reward them handsomely.
‘That was the motivation that spurred the athletes to produce an outstanding performance, and I know that very soon that promise by the governor will be redeemed,’ the commissioner said.