7th July, 2011
Amaju Pinnick, chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, has said that Delta State is not jealous or afraid of the sterling performance of Rivers State, host of the ongoing 17th National Sports Festival in Port Harcourt.
Pinnick said Rivers State is a sister state and Delta is proud to see it winning medals and leading the log. He said that in sports anything can happen and that good performances should be translated into medals. He added that the emphasis of the state is not to win at all times but to discover athletes that can compete for the state and country in the future.
â€œOur emphasis at the Games is developing talents for the future. We train athletes to represent the country, which is one of the objectives of the National Sports Festival, despite our longing to win,â€ he said.
He said he was excited that Team Rivers have found themselves in the top of sports because no state can continue to dominate the games forever.
â€œIt does not have to be Edo, Delta and Ogun states that will continue to win the Games. Itâ€™s good for the competition and should not be limited to certain states, athletes should come from everywhere in Nigeria,â€ he stated.
He claimed that Rivers State has spent so much on her athletes.
He, however, stated that Delta State has a structure which is lacking in Rivers State. â€œWe have a structure in our state and when old athletes are fading away, we have young ones to replace them.
Even if you are in Primary Six, the athlete will be placed on the minimum wage as a civil servant and will be sent to the secondary school and university,â€ he said.
He added that about three of the Directors in his commission played hockey for the state when they were much younger and enjoyed tremendous benefits.
â€œWe give athletes life outside sports; we encourage them to pursue education while doing sports.â€
He was however optimistic that Delta State will finish very strongly. â€œI can tell you that we are going to finish in a decent position with decent medals. We are very happy with our performance and spirit of sportsmanship,â€ he said.