Philip Shaibu, Edo Deputy Governor and Chairman of Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the 20th National Sports Festival, says the State will win the festival fair and square.
Shaibu expressed the optimism when he addressed the state’s athletes and officials at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium on Tuesday in Benin.
The LOC chairman, who dismissed rumours of the planned movement of the sports tournament, tagged Edo 2020, to the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, reaffirmed the state’s commitment of its readiness to host the festival.
Shaibu, who was accompanied by Mr Victor Edokpayi, the Director of facilities, Edo State Sports Commission, on inspection of facilities for the sports festival, said that there was no truth in the rumour.
Shaibu said: “The rumours that the Federal Ministry of Sports wants to take the games from Edo to Abuja is not true as the Minister and the Permanent Secretary have denied it.
“I spoke with the minister, who said he didn’t release any statement of such, likewise the PS (permanent Secretary ).
“Edo State is hosting for the love of the nation and national interest to help our athletes shape up to win at the Tokyo Olympic games.
“We are hopeful that the games will go on but only to the extent that we are funded. We are ready.
“We have gone round the facilities because we believe that we will be funded; that is why the competition equipment are being unveiled and installed.
“The equipment for Edo 2020 are the latest sporting equipment and the type they will meet in the Tokyo Olympics, which is why the contingents will be camping in Edo. We are ready.”
According to him, the state is ready to host the Games, scheduled to begin on April 2, 2020.
The LOC chairman also watched as members of the Team Edo were being tested and vaccinated against Coronavirus (COVID-19), ahead of the Games opening at the designated centre at the stadium.
He added that the state had concluded vaccination of Edo athletes and were now going through PCR screening for COVID-19.
Addressing the state’s athletes, he said: “We are hosting to win and we must win clean without using drugs or cheats.
Our junior brothers, Delta State are already boasting that they will win; we will tell them that we are their senior brothers and will clinch the most gold medals to win the game.”
Facilities inspected included those for Wrestling, Boxing, Gymnastics, Judo, Kung fu, Karate and Swimming.
Others were Lawn Tennis Court and Basketball facilities on Wire Road; Storage facility; LOC Secretariat Staff office; Office of the Secretary General of LOC; Conference Hall for Press conferences and Indoor Sports Hall, Etete, among others.( NAN)