BY JACOB AJOM
The victory did not come cheap. “It took months of camping, hard training, discipline and divine intervention to achieve the victory.”
Those were the words of the executive chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission, Pinnick Amaju when he was explaining the excellent performance of Team Delta at the 18th National Sports Festival, Eko 2012.
The post victory celebration began at The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) headquarters, Anthony Village, La gos on Sunday where members of the victorious team and officials went for a thanksgiving service.
In attendance was the Executive Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and his wife, Rolly, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Right Honourable Victor Ochei and other top government functionaries.
At the church, Amaju recalled the role God played in their victory, saying that the team’s performance was a testimony to the fact that “prayer is the most fundamental thing a man needs to achieve whatever he wants.”
In a chat with journalists, Amaju spoke further on the secret behind the victory of Team Delta at the Sports Festival which was concluded last night at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
“When we returned from Port Harcourt(Garden City Games) we called ourselves to a meeting and asked, what went wrong? After serious review of our performance we created what we call a comfort zone for athletes.
That is planning for their lives after their competitive years. We engaged most of them as staff of the Delta State Sports Council He contended that most of the athletes from other states are used during festivals and forgotten thereafter.
“In our case, we employ them and offer them the opportunity to go to school. “Blessing Okagbare, for instance, was on Grade level 04 when she left for the United States, but today, as a graduate, she is on Grade Level 08 step 2,” Amaju said.
He also said early preparations and regular release of funds enhanced their training schedule.
“We prepared very well and gained a lot from areas we were handicapped in previous festivals. “In Kaduna, we got one gold medal in weight lifting, today; we got 15 of the available 36 gold medals in power lifting.
We also won 10 out of 16 in weightlifting. One happy thing is that our victory spread across all the sports.”
State G S B Total
Delta 114 99 75 228
Rivers 76 71 70 217
Lagos 64 47 71 182
Edo 25 23 44 92
Bayelsa 19 17 22 58
Ondo 18 12 28 58
Ogun 15 22 31 68
C/River 12 14 23 49