As the 21st National Sports Festival enters Day 6, defending champions, Team Delta, were still holding sway to their title as they have so far recorded 127 medals comprising 69 gold, 33 silver and 25 bronze with Ogun and Oyo States occupying 2nd and 3rd position on the medals table respectively.
Hosts Delta State has been leading the medal standing right from Day 1 of the tournament and Ogun State was closely following them with 25 medals comprising 10 gold, 6 silver and 9 bronze while Oyo State is 3rd with 25 medals of 9 gold, 10 silver and 6 bronze.
Meanwhile, Team Delta’s athletes have protested against poor feeding, allowances, and an unfriendly environment in their camps.
The athletes, particularly those camped at the Asaba Technical College, are accusing the officials of the state sports commission and others of taking advantage of them to amass illicit wealth.
They lamented that they were given only three hours electricity supply, no provision of water, mosquito nets and competition allowances.
They accused Tonobok Okowa-led sports commission of not doing the needful but instead amassing wealth to themselves.
They accused Okowa special assistant, Ashakpo Victor, the union chairman, Peter Tobi and other officials of short-changing athletes to enrich themselves.
Some of the aggrieved athletes who did not want their names mentioned for fear of victimisation said since they arrived at the camp weeks before the commencement of the festival till date, they have been poorly fed.
“We are here because we want to showcase our talents to the world. But we are being treated like animals. No mosquito net, we get only three hours of power supply, no good food and we are given poor allowances.
“There is no day we are not served sour food, no water to bathe and do other things and waste litters everywhere in our camps. Visit the hostels where the para-athletes are camping, you will cry for the state. Everywhere is littered with dirt.
“N2,000 is approved for athletes feeding per meal but what they are giving us is not worth N500 and if you see the kind of food they give us, you will weep for us.
“There is no proper fumigation of the hostels where we are camped. No fans and proper cleaning of the hostels. No single day that athletes don’t have a running stomach after eating the rubbish they call food.”
According to them, no competition kits; but “we were only provided with jerseys, no match boots for ball games.
We are supposed to be paid N2,500 for the camping allowance and for our competition proper allowance, we are supposed to get N2,500 and altogether, that is N5,000 but as we talk, we have been short-changed and to be paid N3,000 only instead of N5,000.
How can they explain the situation where drivers are paid N7,000 as allowance while athletes are paid a meagre of N3,000 at the end of the day?
“Even coaches are also being short-changed by these criminals in government. States like Edo and Rivers are paying over N5,000 per athlete and N10,000 per official.
“Why are things different for Delta state as they are characterised by fraud and corruption? This is how they enriched themselves with money meant for athletes in the state.
As I talk to you now, secretaries of unions and coaches have rejected their allowances.”
When contacted, chairman of Delta Sports Commission, Tonobok Okowa, denied the allegations, saying he was not aware of all the problems, “There is nothing of such”.