By Solomon Nwoke
ANOTHER grand experience awaits Nigerians today when the curtains of the 17th National Sports Festival are drawn at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari has assured.
Semenitari who has been in the thick of the organisation of the festival in the past two weeks said that events for the closing ceremony are expected to commence by 4pm today as she enjoined residents of the State to throng the venue to celebrate Team Rivers looking very good to topple Team Delta as winners of the biennial sports fiesta.
She expressed delight that the festival christened “Garden City Games 2011” has immeasurably boosted the image of the State politically, socially and economically.
According to her, the impressive opening ceremony which was witnessed by President Goodluck Jonathan and other dignitaries left a clear message that Port Harcourt has once again regained her past glory.
“Rivers State has had exciting time at the Games and the opening ceremony is something that we are proud of. We did promise Nigerians that we are going to give them a carnival. The closing ceremony promises to be more. It is going to be exciting on Saturday (today) from 4pm. We encourage people to be at the stadium. It’s going to be plenty of fun,” she said.
Semenitari commended Rivers State athletes who are leading on the medals table and their trainers, because, “they have proven that they are the team to beat at the festival”, as she expressed high optimism that Team Rivers would sustain their lead to the end of the festival.
“We have been able to showcase a Games that is a fiesta . We have proved to the world that Port Harcourt is back” she said.
The Commissioner explained that the game has showcased to the world that the change which Governor Chibuike Amaechi has espoused has come to stay in Rivers State.
She revealed that the Swimming Federation of Nigeria has indicated interest to use the State’s world class swimming pool at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium Complex, in the Greater Port Harcourt City, for an Africa swimming tournament.