The Lagos State team captain in the just-concluded National Sports Festival, Edo 2020, Ahmed Koleosho, has commended the state government over improved welfare for the state’s contingent.
Koleosho, a Gold Medalist, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria at the hosting of Lagos State contingent.
NAN reports that the Lagos State Sports Commission on Wednesday organised a grand reception for its athletes that participated in the Edo 2020 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium Surulere.
Lagos State came fifth on the final medals table with 32 gold, 40 silver and 54 bronze, totaling 126 medals.
Koleosho rated the contingents’ performance better when compared to the last sports festival.
He said: “We performed far better than what we put up at the last festival because we went there with fewer athletes than we had in Abuja 2018.
“We went to the previous NSF, Abuja 2018 with over 700 athletes, and were able to come back with just three gold medals, but for Edo 2020, we went with athletes just few above 200.
“For me, our performances at Edo 2020 was fantastic, we were far better.
“Also we went to Edo with the youngest team in the federation and yet, we put up a good show.
“I can only say congratulations to the entire team for doing the state proud because the state also gave us the best welfare package.
“We have the best kits, track suits, equipment and others.
“We also had the commission supplement the feeding given to us at the festival.
“We need to commend the state for this.”
Another gold medalist in weightlifting, Adejoke Olarinoye, described the Edo 2020 competition as intense and thanked the state for supporting the athletes.
Olarinoye said: “Edo 2020 is a fight it all to win.
“The weightlifting team did their best to win.
“We were only five in number, and was able to win seven medals.
“The state government did their best to cater for us as we were mostly better off in terms of welfare, but there are rooms for improvement.
“I want the state to look into a situation where we had to compete with the athletes that trained alongside us but representing other states during the sports festival.
“We don’t want to be competing against them, although some of them left for those states because of financial inducement, which Lagos can as well look into.”
The Public Relations Officer of the team, Ayomide Martins, thanked the state government for its support.
Martins said the team would have performed far better if not for restricted training sessions, occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.
He told NAN: “I just want to say a big thank you to the Lagos State Government for their support.
“In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic that affected us in terms of training, we did not give up doing our best.
“The state handball team won silver in spite of lesser training sessions.
“We had just about three days to prepare, but because of the quality of the team, we still managed the silver medal.”
Another handball player, Yahaya Owolabi, commended the state for hosting the athletes as early as possible adding that such gesture was an encouragement.
Owolabi said: “It is a good thing that the state government deemed it fit to organise this reception party as quickly as possible and this is the first of its kind.
“We are also happy with the quick cash rewards given to the athletes which would serve as an encouragement for others to give their best.
“By the grace of God, we will start the preparations towards the next festival as soon as possible so as to improve on our last performance.”