Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Eko 2012 Sports Festival Begins Today

In the next two weeks, beginning from today, all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja will jostle for honours in the 18th edition of Nigeria's biggest sports gathering, the National Sports Festival tagged "Eko 2012".

Specifically, the formal official opening ceremony for the games will be performed today by President Goodluck Jonathan in Lagos.

Already, the contingents from all the 36 states, as well as that of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have arrived in Lagos for the 18th National Sports Festival which opens in Lagos today.

Team Zamfara were the last states to hit the Games Villages yesterday.

A total of 11,549 athletes and officials have been registered for the Games.

A breakdown of the 11,549 participants shows that athletes are 8,045, coaches 1,382, Team Officials 1,000 while 1,122 delegates will take part in the Games.

Equally, a total of 1132 technical officials will be deployed during the festival out which 613 will be invited from outside Lagos 519 sourced from within.

According to Elias Gora, Chairman, Accommodation and Welfare Sub-Committee of the Main Organising Committee (MOC) said yesterday that the states contingents have arrived with evidence of payment and accommodation was being given to them at the time of going to press.

"The participating states are all here and they have all shown evidence of payment; so accommodation is being given out to them as we speak.

"Team Abia arrived on Monday, but it was a busy weekend for us because majority of the state contingents came in at the weekend," Gora said.

The three designated Games Villages for the festival, according to Gora are the University of Lagos, Akoka; the Yaba College of Technology, Yaba and the Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka.

Rivers State, host of the last edition in 2011 are the defending champions of the biennial sports fiesta.

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