After several postponements, hiccups and long waiting; accredited 12, 138 athletes and officials will finally assemble at the newly constructed Adokie Amesiemeka Stadium in Port Harcourt for the official kick off ceremony of the 17th National Sport Festival tagged ‘Garden City Games’.
The national event which was first introduced after the civil war to serve as a bond of fellowship and friendship has become the biggest sporting event in the country.
The countdown to the biannual championship began last two weeks when President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal hoists the official flag of the games. The 17th National Sports Festival National Sports Festival will bring together Nigeria’s crop of future stars to participate in competitive sports as well as other activities and entertainment.
The Olympic values of friendship, respect and excellence are intrinsic to NSF, and the festival is likely to achieve one of the key outcomes of the Olympic and Paralympic Games - that of increasing grass roots participation in sports. As a result, this year’s festival has been designed as an inspired project by the National Sports Commission (NSC) to fast track Nigerian sports revival to the glorious day.
The beauty of sports festival is that it is aimed to cater for all. A myriad of varied activities ranging from cooking sessions, petty trade, souvenirs, town service and even line dancing will be on offer for both participants and spectators. Garden City Games 2011 is a sensational event that will bring families and friends together on and off the sporting arena to celebrate Nigeria’s remarkable unity in diversity. According to President Goodluck Jonathan the biannual championship provides opportunity for the youth to engage themselves in productive sporting activities.
“The sports festival has the capacity to take youths away from vices that would militate against the development of the country,” he said.
The 2011 sports festival programme includes athletics, badminton, basketball, football, boxing, chess, cycling, gymnastic, handball, hockey, judo, karate, special sport, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, trado-sport, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling, darts kung-fu, kick-boxing and for the first time in NSF history, golf, thanks to the fantastic facilities provided by River State government for the championship.
Chairman, local organizing committee (LOC) and deputy Governor of River State, Tale Ikuru, speaking ahead of the opening ceremony which is now shifted tomorrow, said that the capacity of the organizers will be enhanced “when there is robust synergy between the government, the private sector and other stakeholders, calling on various stakeholders to key in into this strategic effort to deliver to the nation the greatest sporting fiesta in her history.”
According to him, the 17th National Sports Festival earlier scheduled to hold in November last year is a golden jubilee of the nation, saying it will engender sports as a lucrative national economic mainstay of the country. He assured that participants will be treated to a good taste of entertaining sports, excellent hospitality and engaging stay at the event.