By Eddie Akalonu
Former Edo State Sports Commissioner, Brown Ebewele has lauded Lagos State for not adopting the “hosting to win attitude” towards the on-going 18th National Sports Festival, saying this break from past practices was a positive step to sports development.
Speaking in Lagos Ebewele observed that “The only reason that there is peace in this festival is the decision of Lagos State not to host and win. It has allowed concentration on the main business of the festival by all the stake-holders.”
Going back memory lane, he recalled that hosting to win approach gave past festivals very bad connotation.
“In past festivals, by now there would have been protests and disagreement such the can disrupt smooth flow of competitions and I like this atmosphere of peace to continue all the way. For taking that decision, I sincerely commend Lagos and it is something that future hosts of the festival can emulate because it’s in the interest of sports,” he said.
But the former sports director of Edo State said the festival would produce nothing new because it is a closed one where athletes competing are already 24 and 25 years old. He has therefore, called for it to be thrown open to be more competitive.
“When you are in a festival with such high number of old men and women in competition then it’s no longer developmental. It can only be if you have athletes captured in primary and secondary schools competition.. But we have athletes developed by clubs and states. So, there is the need to throw the festival open to allow for stiffer competition among the states,”he stressed.