The Ondo State Sports Council will support the Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare on all decisions regarding the postponed 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF).
President Muhammadu Buhari on March 17, approved the postponement of the National Sports Festival Edo 2020, as a precautionary move against the spread of COVID-19.
The General Manager of the council, Wande Fabuluje, said: ”the minister expressed willingness for the festival to still hold this year, but it is not yet clear which month it will hold.
“Mind you, we have just three months left in the year. Maybe it can be held in November or December, I don’t know.
“What I know is that we trust the minister’s good judgment and will support any decision of his; whether to host the festival this year or, for any reason, next year,” he said.
Sports activities had been some of the heaviest casualties of COVID-19, with major events such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Euro 2020, tennis Grand Slams, either postponed or cancelled all over the world.
However, some activities, especially football and some non-contact sports, were gradually returning.
Fabuluje, like many stakeholders, believed that staging the NSF could lift the spirits of Nigerians, particularly at these pandemic trying times.
“Whenever it is held, it will be a welcome development for sports in this country because people are looking for ways to liven up their spirits in this difficult year of COVID-19,” he said.
Ondo State finished 10th on the medals’ table at the 2018 NSF held in Abuja, with 14 gold, nine silver and 23 bronze medals.
Fabuluje said the state was aiming at bettering that record at Edo 2020, although the uncertainty around the festival could pose a challenge.
“We are still uncertain and it is affecting preparations, not just for us but for all the states. We’ll like the hit the ground running, but we cannot do much at the moment.
“If we continue with preparations and the festival eventually did not take place this year, what will be the outcome for people we had kept in camp?
“Camping athletes in preparation for a major event costs a lot and we don’t want to engage in any exercise in futility.
“However, we are optimistic that whenever the NSF holds, we in Ondo state will be ready,” he said.