Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa rewarded the victorious athletes who represented the state in the 19th National Sports Festival in Abuja and the National Youth Games held in Ilorin, Kwara State last year.
Team Delta won both competitions. In the sports festival, the team had a haul of 352 medals comprising 163 gold, 88 silver and 101 bronze. At the youth games, Team Delta won 27 gold medals, 24 silver medals and 16 bronze medals.
National Sports Festival, gold medalists got N1 million, silver medalists – N500,000 and bronze medalists – N250,000 while medalists at the National Youth Games got N100,000 for gold medals, N75,000 for silver medals and N50,000 for bronze medals.
At a reception for the victorious athletes held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Monday evening, Governor Okowa told the athletes that his administration will continue to encourage sportsmen and women.
“Sports has become a vital tool of empowerment and accomplishment both at the national and international levels, and I urge all of you (sports men and women) not to relent. Aim at attaining higher standards and glories both for the State and our country.
“Facilities have been made available and they will be continually upgraded to meet the demands of modern training. Whatever the State Government is offering you today, it is not necessarily payment or compensation for winning laurels for your state, rather, it is a token of appreciation for your commitment and patriotism while competing for your State,” he said.
The governor announced scholarship to Miss Precious Okafor to the university level as she competed and won medals at the National Youth Games despite losing her mother.
The team leader, Mr. Ifekachukwu Paul, thanked Governor Okowa for keeping to his promise of rewarding the athletes with cash gifts, observing that the governor had provided first class sporting facilities in the state and encouraged the athletes to bring out their best.
He assured the governor that Team Delta will win more laurels in future sporting events.
Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission Mr Tonobok Okowa had thanked Governor Okowa for inspiring Delta athletes to victory, noting that Team Delta spends more than two weeks in camps before any competition.