Athletes and officials of Team Bayelsa protested over the devastating conditions they were subjected to during the competition at the closing ceremony parade of the 19th edition of the National Sports Festival, yesterday.
The athletes and officials displayed placards with different write ups expressing their discontent as other states filed out in celebration of their achievements at the biennial event.
In the fanfare that made the Festival quite a spectacle, it was quite distracting and absurd to see grumpy looks on the faces of the Bayelsa states athletes.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP sports at the closing ceremony, the disgruntled athletes lamented over the lack of encouragement and neglect shown by the state government during the festival.
Expressing their discontentment, the athletes implored the government to heed to their plight as they were stranded and handicapped financially despite having done their best at the competition.
“We are not protesting, but we came out to send a message to our governor who sent us here through some persons, we are stranded, we are here without motivations and we came to Abuja and we delivered. If you check the medals table we are not lacking.
“We the athletes performed under pain but at the end of the day no encouragement from the government.
“We are the only state with out track suit, no adequate allowances for the athletes.
They made up promises, which they have failed at keeping, we are not here to betray our state but we are not happy with what is happening.
“No one is buying anything back home to our family in this Christmas season because we were not given a dime. We are not trying to be rude, we are only sending a message to our state government to come to our rescue.”
According to one of the athletes, Evbotokhai Victoria, she narrated how the team had suffered a mishap on their way to the competition and no one thought to sympathize with the team.
“We were also robbed around Lugbe and at the Airport in Abuja while many of us lost our valuables. It is disheartening that no one came to address us.
“We were abandoned without nothing and all they could tell us was to just go and compete which we have done but they didn’t keep to their words.
“Sports men are not animals, we love what we do that is why we are doing it and we should be encouraged and motivated not treated in this harsh and inhuman manner.”
Despite the maltreatment of the Team Bayelsa, they finished 5th position in the medals table with 32 gold, 56 silver and 49 bronze medals.
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