Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and star Prince of Anioma kingdom, Rt. Hon. Ned Nwoko, have rolled out the largess of rewards and goodies, in appreciation to the Athletes of Team Delta, who made the state proud and beat all comers to the first position, during the 19th edition of the national sports festival which held in Abuja, the Federal capital last year.

Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, in a colourful event on 11/02/19, at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, attended by the athletes, sports officials, members of their families, wife of the governor, Dame Edith and sports lovers, rewarded the excellent performances of team Delta by dolling out cash rewards worth more than N403 million to the athletes who participated in the National Sports Festival tagged, Abuja 2018.

Delta State came out tops at the national sports festival with 163 gold, 88 silver and 101 bronze totalling 352 medals to beat its closest rival, Rivers State which had 194 medals.

Also rewarded were medallists at the 4th National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara State, 2018 edition, where Team Delta who are the defending champions. also emerged as overall winners of the festival, winning 27 gold, 24 silver and 16 bronze to beat Lagos State into the second position with 23 gold, 15 silver, 22 Bronze medals.

Celebrating the victorious Team Delta athletes, Gov. Okowa said: “Great Delta athletes, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, today’s event is very special to me, because I have the privilege of being able to fulfill my promise to reward not only the medalists, but everyone who represented our dear State. I therefore wish to reassure our young people, especially those with talents that the State government will continue to encourage sportsmen and women.”

He continued, “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,” a visibly elated Governor Okowa asserted.

Speaking further, the Delta state governor told the victorious athletes that what the government was offering them is not necessarily payment or compensation for winning laurels for your State; rather, it is a token of appreciation for their commitment and patriotism while competing for Delta State.

The governor on the spot offered scholarship to Miss Precious Okafor to the University level as she competed and won medals at the National Youth Games despite losing her mother.

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.

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 has provided first class sporting facilities in the state and encouraged the athletes to bring out their best.

He assured the governor that the Team Delta will win more laurels in future sporting events.

Chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, Mr Tonobok Okowa had in an opening speech, thanked Governor Okowa for inspiring Delta athletes to victory, noting that Team Delta spends more than two weeks in camps before any competition.

Also in the spirit of rewarding the victorious Team Delta athletes, Prince Ned Nwoko, the star prince of Anioma land, equally splashed a whooping N20 million on athletes who made Delta proud at the national sports and youth festivals held in Abuja, and Ilorin respectively.

Prince Nwoko, who is the Chancellor of the nearly completed STARS University in Idumuje-Ugboko, his country home in Aniocha North local government area of the state, gave the reward when he hosted the athletes to a gala night at his Mount Ned Nwoko Resort in Idumuje-Ugboko, to showcase how pleased he was with their unique performance at the national sports festival, and to eulogize their excellent performance at the national stage and assure them that a time is coming when the athletes would compete at international levels.

Nwoko said the athletes had
had made him proud and proven to be true Deltans, and pledged to support them in whatever ways to make them achieve their goals in life, even as he added that Delta state is very good at sports, hence it has consistently won medals in all events at the national level.

He expressed joy that he was hosting the athletes in his picturesque country home and assured of a better performance come the next sports festival, stating that he would be pleased to support Governor Okowa to mentor and sponsor thembin future.

“We will go to Edo State and defend all our medals and bring the trophy back,” a happy Prince Nwoko declared confidently.

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