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The 873 athletes preparing for the National Sports Festival
expected to hold on March 22, in Edo were paid camping and transport allowances
for the 10 days they were in camp. The Federal Government suspended the
festival following the Corona Virus pandemic in the country.

The Vortex Sports correspondent who witnessed the exercise learnt that each athlete was given N1,500 per day for the 10 days with a transport fare of N5,000 each.

Our correspondent also gathered that the coaches, other
officials and sundry staff were given N2,000 per day for 10days and N10,000
transport allowance.

Although, the athletes, and coaches protested the sum given
to them as it was allegedly not what was promised by the sports authorities
before they went into camp, they were pacified that the state government will
still need them when the suspension is called-off.

While discharging the athletes, the Commissioner for sports,
Hon. Boma Iyaye advised them not to relax but to continue with their training
as the festival might hold in no distant time, as soon as a new date is fixed.

Hon. Iyaye enjoined them to report any challenge confronting
them during the period through the Director of Sports, Mrs. Mildred Hart, and
commended them for making the campaign a huge success.

Meanwhile, the Festival Secretary, Chief Christopher Chioma
has expressed appreciation to the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, the Sports
Commissioner Hon. Boma Iyaye, the Permanent Secretary, Honour Sirawoo and
others for their contributions to the welfare of the officials and athletes during
the camping period, assuring that they would keep the flag of Team Rivers
flying higher whenever the competition is re-scheduled.

However, the Chief Coach of Rivers State Cycling Association
get allowances, Emmanuel Onasanya noted that the suspension of the festival is
for the safety of all athletes and it would help them to intensify their
training for the competition as the 10days camping was not enough compared to
other periods.

Onasanya said he was excited for the allowances paid to
them, but reminded the state government that they were still expecting their
reward from the 2018 Sports Festival in Abuja, and promised of make the state
proud in Edo 2020.

It will be recalled that the 20th National Sports Festival,
Edo 2020 was fixed to start-off on March 22, 2020 in Edo, Benin City.

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