Sports Festival: Governor Diri Receives Victorious Bayelsa State Athletes
By Hananeel Jackson
Governor Douye Diri has received Bayelsa athletes who made State proud at the just concluded National Sports Festival in Benin City, Edo State.
Governor Diri while receiving Team Bayelsa that finished third at the Fiesta in front of government house in Yenagoa on arrival from Benin City congratulated the State contingent for their Impressive outing in Edo.
The Governor said he was happy that the State athletes surpassed the 2006 record where they finished fourth in Abeokuta, Ogun State, when he was Commissioner for Sports.
He explained that Team Bayelsa performance in Benin was indicative that the State has comparative advantage in swimming, wrestling as well as combat sports.
While charging Team Bayelsa to aim for first position during the 21st edition in Delta State next year, he pointed out that he expects the contingent to dominate in other areas as well.
Governor Diri also dispelled rumours in some quarters that Bayelsa fielded an ineligible sprinter from Kenya, noting that Bravin Kiprop who represented State and won gold medal in the 10,000 meters race was Bayelsan with dual citizenship.
He also asserted that Dino Ebarakumo who who was stripped of 4 gold medals in swimming is a Bayelsan who competed for Rivers State in the past.
Earlier, Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development Mr. Daniel Igali while thanking the Governor for his support towards development of sports in Bayelsa State noted that the story of 20th National Sports Festival was incomplete without Ifiezibe Gagbe who won 8 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze medals.
The commissioner added that the Team was inspired by the governor’s charge shortly before departure for the Games to perform beyond the previous record of 4th place finish in Abeokuta in 2006.
In an interview, Director Of Sports in the Bayelsa State Sports Council, Sir Braveman Wodi said he felt fulfilled after the Team improved on the previous record, adding that they would consolidate on the achievements in swimming and Wrestling.
Sir Wodi opined that when the forthcoming State Sports Festival is held, Bayelsa State would emerge stronger in the next Fiesta in Delta State.
Team Bayelsa amassed a total of 169 medals 56 gold, 55 silver and 58 bronze while Delta State emerged champions with 384 medals, 158 gold, 116 silver and 110 bronze. Hosts, Edo finished second with 341 medals,129 gold medal, 104 silver and 108 bronze medal.
At the bottom were Taraba State with 2 medal while Jigawa State could only manage 3 bronze medal same with Adamawa State 1 silver and bronze medal.