By Oswald Agwu
Ebonyi State government, through the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development has commenced open camping for its 187 sports contingents, preparatory to the National Sports Festival scheduled to hold from March 20 to April 2 in Edo State.
The disclosure was made by the Ebonyi Sports Commissioner, Charles Akpuenika while briefing newsmen after State Executive Council meeting in Abakaliki on Tuesday.
The Commissioner who noted that the state is fully prepared for the competitions expressed gratitude to Governor David Umahi for granting approval for the state to participate in the event.
He recalled that Ebonyi State, two months ago, participated in Imo State zonal elimination series, preparatory to the festival where, for the first time since 1998, the Ebonyi football team qualified to represent the Southeast in the football tournament; male and female cricket, female volleyball and basketball, among others.
According to the commissioner, the state, preparatory to the festival, has also secured a football friendly to be played at the Ngele Oruta Township Stadium on Saturday between its team, Akubaraoha Boys, and the Calabar Rovers of Cross River State.
Akpuenika enlisted that apart from the ball games, Ebonyi contingents would also feature in both the aquatics, track and field athletics as well as indoor games: badminton, chess, boxing, kick-boxing, swimming, taekwando, weight lifting, among others. They will also feature in para-athletics.
Aklpuenika explained, “We have secured approval from the State Executive Council, and we have enough to take our people to Edo and take care of them.
“Again, we have 187 sportsmen and women going to Edo to represent the state in the festival, and we are prepared and even getting more prepared by the day.
“For us to go to Imo State and dismantle other southern states is not an easy task and I wish to commend His Excellency so much for his support.
“Even now, there is open camping going on at the stadium, and within a few days, we will go into closed camping, and I want to assure you that our contingents will not disappoint the state.”