‘Team Rivers’ll Spring Surprises in 2022’
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Rivers State Sports Council, Chief Christopher Chioma has expressed optimism that Team Rivers will spring a surprise in the 2022 National Sports Festival in Delta, despite clinching the 4th position in the just concluded Edo 2021.
Chioma in an interview with our correspondent in his office in Port Harcourt, said Team Rivers will also surprise their arch-rivals and host of the 2022 festival, Delta as they will do everything possible to take their rightful place as they did in Garden City 2011 in Rivers State.
The Sports Council image maker hinted that their greatest challenge was the poaching of most of their athletes by other states like Bayelsa, Delta and Edo, and further disclosed that the State Ministry of Sports had promised to ensure that all the athletes who were lured with incentives to other states were brought back in preparation for Delta 2022.
According to him, although they were taken unaware by what transpired, they would prove to Delta and other states that Rivers State is the hub of athletes in Nigeria.
He lauded the efforts of the team leaders in ensuring that one of their athletes who competed for Bayelsa State in swimming and won four gold, two silver and one bronze was stripped of his medals through protest, adding that Team Rivers will stop at nothing in clinching the top position in next year edition of the sports festival.
The Council spokesman thanked the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for ensuring the team’s early preparation and movement to the competition.
He specially commended the Commissioner of Sports, Hon. Boma Iyaye and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Sir. Honour Sirawoo for their efforts in ensuring a hitch-free competition as their presence at the festival motivated the athletes.
It would be recalled that about 434 athletes and officials with support staff participated at the festival. Team Rivers came 4th at the festival with 33 gold, 34 silver and 61 bronze as they participated in 28 sports events.
Meanwhile, Rivers State contingents to the Edo festival are appealing to the Rivers State Government to formally reward the deserving athletes in order to motivate them and ensure early preparation for the next edition and avoid the fire brigade approach of lateness.