Athletes at the ongoing National Youth Games in Asaba, the Delta State capital have lamented the poor state of facilities at the camp.

Speaking to our reporter at the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba, some athletes lamented that hostel accommodation provided by the state sports commission was poor and horrible.

According to the athletes, the poor hostel accommodation will affect their performance in the ongoing games.

They also condemned the “shabby” way and manner the state sports commission went about its preparation for the games, especially since the commission had known since last year when the state won the hosting right that it would prepare for the event.

Some officials of the commission who spoke on condition of anonymity said that despite the “huge sums of money budgeted for the event,” the commission’s chairman who doubles as chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the games messed up the planning.

According to them, the commission’s chairman and others working with him should be held responsible for all the lapses witnessed in the games.

One of the athletes who described the state of accommodation facilities as abysmal on Monday, said, they “fail to show that any preparation or planning was made ahead of the hosting of the competition”.

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They also lamented the poor state of toilet facilities at the event.

“This toilet is being shared by contingents from three states,” one of them said.

Also, hundreds of athletes participating in the game are sleeping on dirty mattresses put on the floor in rooms occupied by dozens of participants each.

Some officials of the commission who spoke on condition of anonymity said that despite the “huge sums of money budgeted for the event,” the commission’s chairman who doubles as chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the games messed up the planning.

According to them, the commission’s chairman and others working with him should be held responsible for all the lapses witnessed in the games.

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One of the athletes who described the state of accommodation facilities as abysmal on Monday, said, they “fail to show that any preparation or planning was made ahead of the hosting of the competition”.

They also lamented the poor state of toilet facilities at the event.

“This toilet is being shared by contingents from three states,” one of them said.

Also, hundreds of athletes participating in the game are sleeping on dirty mattresses put on the floor in rooms occupied by dozens of participants each.

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Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, officially declared the event open at the weekend.

Enoh who represented President Bola Tinubu at the ceremony attended by 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) urged the athletes to compete fairly.

It was  reported that there was pandemonium immediately after the commencement of the opening ceremony of the sporting event.

The pandemonium followed the sudden collapse of a gate to the main bowl of the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on a middle-aged woman said to be one of the athletes.

The victim was immediately rushed in an ambulance to a hospital within Asaba.

According to eyewitness accounts, the condition of the victim could not be handled by medical personnel at the stadium clinic.

Last week before the commencement of the event, some Delta State athletes camped for the games protested against what they termed “poor feeding conditions, poor water and electricity supply as well as unhygienic environment” in their camp in Delta State.

The young male and female athletes between the ages of 10 and 20 accused the chairman of the state sports commission, Tonobok Okowa and officials of the commission of taking advantage of them to amass wealth.

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They accused the officials of not bothering about their welfare, especially in the provision of good food, water and electricity supply in their camp.

The athletes also accused Okowa, who is the younger brother to the immediate past governor of the state, Ifeanyi Okowa and one Festus Owhojero, director of the audit department, of awarding the cooking contracts in the athletes’ camps and supply of other consumable items to their sisters, wives, relations and girlfriends.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference Monday, over the athletes’ complaints about poor hostel accommodation, Okowa blamed the problem on the resumption of schools.

He said it would be difficult to provide complete full-bed hostels for over 4,500 athletes and that the games were earlier scheduled for September 7, 2023, when schools were still on holiday.

“With the postponement of the opening to September 20, 2023, through September 30, 2023, when schools have resumed, it became difficult to secure hostel facilities as had earlier been arranged with various schools,” he said.

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