TEAM NASARAWA EXCELS AS MAIDEN NATIONAL PARA-SPORTS FESTIVAL CLIMAXES IN ABUJA

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Team Nasarawa finished 12th overall best out of twenty-one States and FCT, Abuja, with Four Gold, Six Silver and Six Bronze Medals respectively as curtains for the 1st Edition of the National Para-Sports Festival were drawn closed on Friday, 15th April, 2022, at the Main Bowl of the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

Aside Abuja, Team Nasarawa were 3rd best Northern State at the Festival behind Kano(3rd position overall) , Kwara(9th position overall) and Plateau(11th position overall) States.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Amb. Lucky Isaac Yargwa, commended the State’s athletes for their exceptional performance at the Games and for bringing honour to the State.

“Everyone in Nasarawa State and beyond is impressed with the performance of our contingent.

“We came here with only five sporting events and you can’t believe that we are going home with sixteen medals, which is a milestone achievement for us, because other States that finished either above or below us came with more sporting events, and probably, adequate preparations.

“What this means is that if we had had a prior and early notice, coupled with adequate preparations and other modalities in place, we would have surpassed our records at the Festival.”

Applauding Governor Abdullahi Sule for making it possible for the State to participate at the Event despite the short notice by Organizers of the Festival, the Commissioner said the Ministry would begin a process of early preparations through reviving moribund grassroots sporting activities for talent discovery and for the sake of eventuality.

“We thank our amiable Governor, His Excellency, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, for giving us the opportunity to partake in this competition.

“If you notice, out of Thirty-Six States of the Federation, Twenty-one States took part in the Games, including the FCT, Abuja, and this may not be unconnected with the short notice, inadequate preparations and paucity of funds. But our sport-loving Governor looked beyond all those and immediately made funds available for us to join our counterparts at the Games.

“As a Ministry, we will continue to do our best to reward the gestures of the Governor, even though we can’t pay him back for all he is doing for us, our youth and sports.

“The Governor continues to demonstrate unmatched foresight and commitment towards the growth and development of youth and sports.

“His goal is to make Nasarawa State one of the bedrocks of sports development in Nigeria.

“We will go back home and review our performance and see areas where we think need urgent attention ahead of subsequent programmes.”

Amb. Yargwa, equally commended the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development under the leadership of Hon. Sunday Dare, and their partners, for coming up with such laudable initiative, stressing that it had given a huge sense of belonging to people living with disability, and helped them to discover their hidden sporting potentials which provides a vista for their career trajectory.

Some of the medalist athletes also expressed joy for participating at the Festival.

Husseini Ibrahim won Gold in Para-Table Tennis Singles for Team Nasarawa, and according to him, “This Festival is apt and timely for me because during the last National Sports Festival in Benin City, Edo State, I did my best but my best could only give me a Bronze Medal. But at this Festival here in Abuja, I redoubled my efforts and, Alhamdulilah, I won a Gold medal.

“While I appreciate our father, the Governor, and the workaholic Commissioner, for giving us the opportunity to participate in the Festival, I want to plead with them to upgrade our obsolete facilities and engage us meaningfully so we do not constitute nuisance in the society.”

Raphael Iorkohol won one Gold in Javelin, one Silver in Shot Put and one Bronze Medal in Discuss, respectively, in Para-athletics, at the Event, and for him, the Festival was a matching setting ahead of the 2022 Asaba National Sports Festival in Delta State.

“I am very happy for my achievements at this Festival. It will help me prepare better for the National Sports Festival which Delta State will host later in the year.

“I have learnt a lot of things here and I will continue to work hard to do better in subsequent Events.”

Joy Iorguma won one Gold in Javelin and Silver in Discuss at the Games, and felt elated for attaining such heights.

“Jesus! I am so happy for what I have won.

“I thank everyone who made it possible for us to be at the Festival.

“At a point, I thought we would not make it, but thank God we came and we also have medals to take back home.”

Team Nasarawa attended the National Para-Sports Festival with a 75 member contingent, comprising 55 athletes, eleven coaches and nine accompanying officials, and featured in five sporting events, namely, Para-Soccer, Deaf Football, Para-Table Tennis, Para-Athletics and Para Powerlifting.

Bayelsa State emerged winners of the Festival after scooping a total of 95 medals, comprising 33 Gold, 30 Silver and 32 Bronze Medals separately.

They were followed by Oyo State with a total of 60 Medals, made up of 24 Gold, 15 Silver and 21 Bronze Medals distinctly.

The Games was declared closed by Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Sunday Dare, represented by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, at a colourful ceremony.

Eche Amos
PRO,
Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

15/04/2022.

Credit : Eche Amos

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