Northern states' poor performance in the just concluded 18th National Sports Festival held in Lagos has been blamed on the insecurity in the northern region for some time now.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard sports after the festival, administrators, coaches and athletes from the northern part of the country blamed insecurity and the loss of thousands of people to the dreaded Boko Haram for the poor performances of all the states in the north.
Some of the sports administrator's, coaches and athletes who pleaded anonymity said the fear of Boko Haram was the beginning of wisdom.
"We could not train properly for fear of being attacked by the sect that has turned northern Nigeria into a hell. The series of bombings, shooting and killings scared us stiff and so we could not muster the courage to train. We should be commended for even wining some medals," a Borno official lamented.
A coach from Kano said they would have done better than they did but the incessant bombings, maiming and killing of innocent souls drove them from their training grounds. "We did our best but the security situations in the country should be blamed for Kano athletes' poor performances.
We are human beings with blood flowing in our veins. We came to the festival because the south is very safe but if one of the northern States had hosted perhaps we may not have been here," he stressed.
It was the same story across other northern States that did not place amongst the top ten on the medals table. Plateau athletes cited the case of Sam Choji, a cyclist who was killed during one of the crises in State. Many other athletes also lost their lives in similar circumstances.
They however, appealed to the federal government to find lasting solutions to the crises in the north so that athletes could train well ahead of Calaber 2014.