(TRADE NEWSWIRE): The just concluded 18th Eko 2012 Sports Festival at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere in Lagos which had over 11, 000 athletes across Nigeria in attendance competing in 25 Olympic sports was a veritable platform for athletic sports’ development in Nigeria, TRADE NEWSWIRE reports.
The Eko 2012 Sports Festival, conducted under the leadership of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, was described as a successful and unique event compared to previously held Sports festivals in the country considering the short notice of a year given to the state government.
Fashola said that the Eko 2012 festival had helped to revive the aim of the event which was meant to discover talents that would represent the country in global events.
The governor said, “Despite the short notice, we have organised one of the best festivals in recent times. What this has shown is that if we seriously commit ourselves to anything in this country, we will achieve it.
“The ultimate issue that concerns me as this festival comes to a close is about the new athletes who were discovered through this festival. After today, we must work to ensure that they are nurtured to compete with their peers in the next Olympics representing their fatherland and not other countries.”
The Eko 2012 festival was said to have been viewed in 45 countries across the world with over 6, 000 viewers in Turkey, Austria, India, Italy, India, Italy, Spain, France, Canada, Ghana, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland among other countries, thereby making it, though, a local invent, but of international status.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by the Minister of Sports and chairman of the National Sports Commission, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, at the closing ceremony of the Eko 2012 held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, said the spirit of sportmanship demonstrated by the athletes at the festival had shown that sport was vital to the unity and development of the country.
He urged state governments to include the festival in their yearly calendar, as it would enable them to prepare ahead of the festival.
“I want to urge Nigerians to demonstrate the spirit of sportsmanship in their daily endeavours,” he said.
The festival had Delta State came first with 116 gold, 97 silver and 75 bronze medals to dethrone Team Rivers, which finished second with 76 gold, 71 silver and 71 bronze medals while the host, Team Lagos placed third with 65 gold, 47 silver and 71 bronze medal
Sport analysts believed that it is not yet Eldorado for Lagos, urging the state to do better than this in the future sport festival with regards to organization and performance of athletes, adding that other states of the federation should emulate Lagos state, to that effect.
Eko 2012 Sports Festival Medals Table