Barely seven days to commencement of 20th National Sports Festival, the Federal Government has announced a new date for the sporting activities earlier scheduled to begin on February 14.
The apex government said that the postponement of the event scheduled to hold in Edo State had become imperative following surges in cases of coronavirus across the country, particularly the presence of different United Kingdom variants of the disease in Nigeria.
Announcing the postponement on Monday, the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said that the competition has been postponed to April when the virus spread was expected to have subsided.
Dare, at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 press briefing, added that the decision to postpone was reached during the National Council of Sports meeting held via Zoom with stakeholders after the virus spread was examined.
It would be recalled that the festival was scheduled to hold from February 14 to 28 in Benin City, the Edo State capital, before it suffered its latest postponement.
The minister noted that a suitable date for the event, scheduled to assist athletes prepare for this year’s Olympic games, would be announced at subsequent meetings council.
According to him, we understand that over 14,000 athletes are expected to participate in the country’s version of Olympic games and we know what the competition means to their career but we can assure them that necessary measures will be put in place to ensure the realization of the Mundial.
“We will work on all necessary hindrances that could prevent the event from holding within the new month chosen for it competition in the country”, the minister added.