BY JACOB AJOM
Former African Queen of the tracks, Mary Omagbemi-Onyali has said that th eCross River State government should use record the low points of Eko 2012 to make the 2014 National Sports Festival a unique event.
Speaking in a chat with Sports Vanguard at the Teslim Balogun Stadium Sunday, Onyali said, “Eko 2012 would have passed for a near-perfect festival but there were some areas she found the event lagging behind previous festivals.
Onyali frowned at the performances of athletes and said she thought they could have done better. “The times they returned in most of the events were below par. I thought they could have done better.”
Continuing, Onyali said, “the organizers were also lagging in the aspect of equipment provided for some of the events. In some cases, the equipments were not there at all. If the sports festival is to produce international athletes, then the best must be provided so that when they go out they can compete against the best anywhere in the world.
“At this stage of our development, athletes should be exposed to the best equipments available so that when they go out to compete, they won’t find such equipments strange. The National Sports Festival should provide the best for athletes.”
Onyali also scoredLagoslow in terms of spectators turn out during athletics events. “I thoughtLagoswas a sports loving state. It was not a healthy development to see empty stands during events. Only one side of the stadium (the covered stand) that had people cheering. That was unfair to the competing athletes,” the former African champion said.
She said the organizing committee for Calabar 2014 should ensure the lapses noticed in Eko 2012 Festival are not repeated in order to make the event.