Ihedioha Flags Off 13th Imo Sports Festival, Woos ‘Runaway’ Athletes

Imo State governor, Emeka Ihedioha, has pleaded with athletes from the state who were poached by other states on account of bad governance that had been the bedmate of the State in recent past to return, Completesports.com reports.

Gov. Ihedioha made the clarion call Friday in Owerri while declaring open the 13th Imo State Sports Festival at the rehabilitated Grasshoppers International Stadium.

The Imo State number One citizen and Sports fan regretted that those athletes of Imo origin who left the state did so as a result of lack of encouragement from the previous administrations in the state

While pouring encomiums on the Executive Chairman of the newly created Imo State Sports Commission, Chief Fan Ndubuoke and his members for their efforts in organising the sports festival within a short time, as well as keying into his administration’s vision to revive sports in Imo, Ihedioha advised him to come up with a reward system for all sports administrators in the state immediately after the festival

Ihedioha expressed his delight at the turnout of athletes, especially from the 27 Local Government Areas in the state for the event and urged them to make good use of the opportunities offered to them to showcase their talents.

Governor Ihedioha addresses the spectators during the opening ceremony of the 13th Imo Sports Festival

“We must not forget the fact that the objective of this festival is to fish out hidden talents that would represent the state at the Edo State 2020 National Sports Festival”, Ihedioha stated.

“The award of contracts for the renovation of Dan Anyiam Stadium and the Grasshoppers International Handball Stadium by the government, as well as rebuilding of Indoor Sports Hall and the gymnasium, among others underscore this administration’s high premium on sports which is a means of engaging our youths in productive ventures, as well as to discover and harnessing their sporting talents.

“I want to assure you that government would continue to show support to the Sports Commission to ensure that a lot is achieved through sports.”

Chief Fan Ndubuoke, in his remark, said that the 13th Imo State Sports Festival was aimed at picking athletes that would represent Imo at the 20th National Sports Festival holding in Edo in March 2020.

While commending the Governor for making the day a reality, he said that the festival would feature 29 sports with all the guiding rules and regulations of such sporting events.

Opening ceremony of 13th Imo Sports Festival

He warned that no particular athlete would be allowed to compete for two local government areas, neither would any LGA register any athlete also as an official, adding that any offender will be disqualified

Ndubuoke also disclosed the intention of the commission to organize Imo tertiary institutions games after the current Imo sports festival.

“This is part of our grassroots efforts to catch them young by taking sports back to schools in the state,” Chief Ndubuoke, a veteran sports journalist, concluded.
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