The Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, yesterday, declared the 20th National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, open with a message to Nigerian youths to be good ambassadors of the country. He advised them to embrace peace and use their skill to enhance the quality of life.
Dare, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, was said to have visited the Oba of Benin, HRM Ewuare II, in his palace before he proceeded to the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium for the ceremony, which witnessed heavy down pour.
Team Delta was topping the medals table with 11 gold comprising six in swimming, two in cycling, two in judo, and one in Taekwondo as of yesterday evening.
Bayelsa State was second with five gold, four silver, and four bronze medals, while the hosts, Edo State, occupy the third position with two gold, four silver, and four bronze medals.
Kano State was fourth with three silver medals, while Cross River State has two bronze medals and Gombe secured one bronze medals among the states on medal table.
Team Lagos’ camp was the talk of the day in Benin City, yesterday when the news broke that an eight-month pregnant woman defied the odds to win a gold medal at the sports festival.
Aminat Idrees, who fought in the mixed poomsae category together with her male counterpart, Arowora Roqeeb, surprised fans at the taekwondo hall with her aggression and agility despite her heavy state.
Her feat was Team Lagos’ first gold at Edo 2020. She also got silver in the female team poomsae category and an individual bronze in the same category making her one of the leading medalists at the festival.
Olympic bound, Enku Ewa Ekuta, also won gold in the 63kg category.
Host, Edo State yesterday won gold medal in the women’s badminton team event.
The Edo team, led by Deborah Ukeh Divine, defeated their counterpart from Ogun State, led by the country’s top seed, Dorcas Adesokan, as Delta State settled for the bronze medal.
Coming into the final, the Edo girls had beaten Delta State 2-0 in the semi-finals, while Kwara State succumbed to the strength of Ogun State.
MEANWHILE, journalists and many other visitors in Benin City for the Sports Festival are not finding the antics of some of the indigenes funny following their cutthroat prices of essential services.
Hoteliers and taxi operators have taken advantage of the sports festival to hike the prices of their services.
The worst of the culprits are taxi drivers, who have devised different ways to fleece unsuspecting victims.
One of the journalists covering the events was furious when he was told to pay N1,000 for a trip that should have cost N200.
A trip that should have cost a mere N200 saw the journalist paying N,1000
Hoteliers in Benin City are also not left out in the brisk business. Rooms that originally go for N3,000 now go for between N5,000 and N7,000.