*As state plans for Lagos 2012
By Ime Bassey
Special Adviser to Ondo State Governor on Sports, Akin Akinbobola has disclosed that the State’s athletes that came fourth at the just concluded National Sports Festival will be rewarded after the labour strike is called off.
Speaking to Sunday Vanguard Sports from Akure, the board member of the Nigerian Premier League, NPL, said efforts are being put in place to discover new talents and harness them ahead of the next sports festival in Lagos.
Stressing that the State plans to finish among the top three States, Akinbobola said, “Immediately we resolve the issues in the state with our Labour Union, we will seat to decide what to give our deserving heroes and heroines as ambassadors of Ondo State.
“We are making concerted efforts to see that we tap our talents from the various local governments and groom them into state athletes. Early last year we had our state sports festival were we discovered raw talents that dominated our contingent for the sports festival and I am happy that they did us proud.
“We would have come third on the medals table if not for some questionable officiating and organisation. We will continue to intensify our effort in discovering talents for stardom.”
On the performance of the athletes in the just concluded Garden City Games, the head of media on the board of the NPL said, “Ondo State is very satisfied with the performance of the athletes, we gave them a charge to be among the first three and they came back with fourth and reasonable explanations why they could not make the first three and we are satisfied with it,” Akinbobola said.
“We see their reasons to be strong and genuine. We are contented to be among the top four behind traditional teams like Delta, Rivers and Edo. We are planning to be amongst the first three in the next sports festival.
Explaining how the state plans to achieve this feat, he said, “We are up-grading our sporting facilities, like that of the state capital and others in four zones of the state. We are hoping that before the end of next year, all of them would be completed.
This will enable us to start preparations early for the next sports festival. I must let you understand that at the just concluded sports festival, we were the only state among the top five states that 80-90 percent of its athletes are indigenes of the state and we want to keep to it,” he added.