By Sab Osuji
Imo state governor, Emeka Ihedioha, Monday set the ball rolling for the 13th Imo Sports Festival billed for 12th December 2019 with the lighting of the festival torch at Government House, Owerri, Orient Sports reports.
The Heartland State is also in the running for the hosting right of the 21st edition of the National Sports Festival.
To this end, sports facilities in the state are currently undergoing massive rehabilitation, including the Dan Anyiam and Grasshoppers stadia, both in Owerri.
Monday’s epic festival torch-lighting ceremony also had international special sports athlete, Duru Goodness Chinasa, as the bearer.
The governor expressed delight over the new shape sports was taking in the state and promised to support sports from the grassroots for maximum result.”We are here to repackage and reposition sports in the state”, Ihedioha said.
“First, this administration will ensure that all the necessary facilities are put in place for our sports to grow and develop”.
Motivating the athletes, coaches and managers, Ihedioha made it clear that Imo was bidding for the 21st edition of the National Sports Festival and vowed that all the modalities towards getting the hosting right were being put in place.
He promised to reward Imo athletes who win medals at National and international competitions with scholarships.
Orient Sports reports that Chief Fan Ndubuokechairman of Imo State Sports Commission, who also spoke during the festival torch lighting ceremony, commended the governor for his support to sports since the establishment of the commission.He promised that the commission would work assiduously towards transforming, as well as resuscitating sports in the state which is now in a state of comatose.
He revealed that the essence of the festival was to discover athletes from the local government areas in preparation for national and international competitions.
The festival torch, thereafter, began its journey round the 27 local government areas of the state with NgorOkpalla as the first destination.
The festival torch will also tour the five sports zones.
NgorOkpalalocal government area Interim Management Committee, IMC, chairman, Comrade Charles Abara received the torch and welcomed the sports commission entourage accompanied by the commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Industry, Mr. JohnboscoOkeahialam.
At AbohMbaise, the IMC chairman, Comrade Joseph Onyeneke and his team expressed their delight to receive the torch as well as the commission’s team.
The council’s athletes danced round in appreciation of the torch that got down at their domain. It was same scenario in Ezinihitte and AhiazuMbaiselocal government areas.