After a long period of preparation amidst rumours of another postponement due to COVID 19 pandemic, the 20th National sports festival in Scheduled for Benin City, Edo State from February 14 to 28, 2021.
For about 14 days, athletes from the 36 states of the federation, including Abuja, will be trying each other for size in the various sporting discipline ranging from track and field events to wrestling, Judo, Boxing, tennis, takwondo and gymnastics.
Others include table tennis, football, golf, karate, weight-lifting, special sports, swimming, badminton, handball, basketball etc.
The festival which came into existence in the country in 1973 has produced a good number of athletes who did the nation proud in the international scene.
The event, however, was to promote amateur sports from the grassroots with a view to discovering hidden talents as well as enhancing national unity.
Already a good number of states have spent a lot to put their athletes in good shape ahead of the festival. TNN Sports gathered that some states have threatened to shun the festival due to the removal of some sports which they have numerical advantage while some athletes’ morale are at the lowest ebb due to series of postponements between December, 2020 through January, 2021.
In Cross River State for instance, the State athletes who have been undergoing open camp screening last week rounded off training over the weekend and as at press time, it was not clear how many sports and athletes the state intend to feature during the sports festival in Benin.
Meanwhile Tokyo Olympics is barely few months away and the National Sports festival supposed to be the avenue to select the athletes to represent the country and yet it is not clear whether it will be postponed again.