Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State on Sunday in Lagos led the state's contingent to the 18th National Sports Festival, to The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Gbagada, Lagos for a thanksgiving service as the team savours the joy of emerging tops at the fiesta.
Governor Uduaghan said at the event that though Team Delta prepared well for the national fiesta, it was imperative for the contingent to seek the face of God "before, during and after the games".
He recalled that on arrival in Lagos, Team Delta was at the same church to ask for God's favour and protection, noting that the overwhelming victory of the Team was an indication of the mercies and grace of God.
"We are here because God has been gracious to us in the last few weeks. God granted us journey mercies and as the games progressed, the medals difference between Delta and the second-placed State continued to widen. The gap is overwhelming," he stated.
The Governor, who was accompanied by his wife, Roli, and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, particularly commended the efforts of the physically challenged athletes, stressing that in spite of the complexity of Delta as a state, they were able to distinguish themselves and win valuable gold medals for the state.
Said he: "These athletes have proven that disability does not retard ability", and thanked Presiding Bishop of TREM, Dr Mike Okonkwo for praying for the state and Team Delta.
On his part, Bishop Okonkwo commended Delta State Government for investing heavily in sports noting it has paid off.
He was particularly delighted that in spite of the abundance of talents coupled with her dominance of sports in Nigeria, Delta State has always honoured God, knowing that without God nothing can be achieved.
However, the Bishop decried the general standard of sports in the country blaming it on the politicisation of sporting administration and sports activities.
He cautioned against politicizing sports, arguing that it was responsible for why America's Michael Phelps could become world best swimmer when Nigeria has millions of people living in the riverine areas of the country and nowhere to be reckoned with.
The chairman of the State Sports Commission, Mr Amaju Pinnick, who attributed Team Delta's victory to discipline, hard-work and prayers said after all the preparations, there was need for prayers to actualize the desire.
He said the Team Delta has set a record by amassing 116 gold medals in the Eko 2012 and thanked Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan for his support for the Team as well as for the commitment to sports development in the State.