Desperation of participating States for medals at the National Sports Festival is expected to reach fever pitch when the athletics events begin next week at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
The build up to the festival has been more of ‘horse trading’ for athletes by the States who have no development programmes. They solely rely on poaching already established athletes to pursue their quest for medals. And no doubt the athletes and coaches are the end beneficiaries.
“States like Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom have money to throw around. You see them offering as much as one million to athletes to represents them. “There is so much desperation to win medals even as they have not cultivated any development programme,” said an athletics coach.
His views were corroborated by veteran coach, Lati Obisesan who is coaching athletes for three different states.
“What can we do? Since the States are not ready to bring up their own athletes, we have to make ourselves available and earn some money. As a coach I cannot stop any of my athlete from representing any State that needed his or her services. “But I must say that this is not helpful to the sport.