Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Eko 2012 - Bauchi to Participate in 17 Sports With 220-Man Contingent

Bauchi State will send a 220-person contingent to the 2012 National Sports Festival holding in Lagos from Nov. 27 to Dec. 9, says a top official.

Alhaji Tanimu Saidu, the Chairman, Bauchi State Sports Council, said in an interview yesterday in Bauchi that the contingent, comprising athletes, coaches and other officials, would compete in 17 sports.

"Our contingent will leave for Lagos on either Friday or Saturday and we are sending 220 people to represent the state.Our athletes will participate in 17 sports at the festival and they are already in an open camp preparing for the competition," he said.

Some of the athletes, who spoke said they would try to excel at the competition but regretted the lack of serious interest in their preparation by the government.

They cited the release of only N30 million for their participation as part of the government's lack lustre interest in their welfare. The athletes said the money was not enough to buy equipment for all the sports they would participate in and also carter for the other needs of the contingent.

They also complained about the government's inability to fulfill pledges made to some of them who performed well during the last edition of the festival in Port Harcourt in 2011.

The state government promised to give automatic employment and monetary rewards to athletes who won medals.

However, in spite of many explanations from government officials that the promise would be fulfilled, none of the athletes has received any money or offer of employment.

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