The Cross River State Director of Sports, Jude Amadi is optimistic, Team Cross River will excel in the forthcoming National Sports Festival, Eko 2012. Yet, the Director remains modest in his ambition. He has set a first ten finish for the state’s contingent going to Lagos for the festival. He said that was “most realistic and feasible” position they can achieve in Lagos.
Amadi who spoke with crossriverwatch at the weekend said that to achieve the set target, the state’s athletes were being given the desired motivation and training.“Our preparations have been top notch and, based on our comprehensive sports development programme, our athletes are constantly in competitive mood as they receive training 24/7,” the Director said, adding, “we ensure they attend national and international competitions and are always in good shape.”
Only last week, Governor Imoke received athletes that represented the state at the Rivers 2011 National Sports Festival. According to Amadi, the Governor used the occasion to thank them and asked them to work hard for the glory of the state. He emphasised that the target for Eko 2012 was to improve on their performance at Rivers 2011 Games in Port Harcourt, where Team Cross River finished 15th in the medal table. “The target this year is for us to better that position and by the grace of God; we hope to finish among the first ten,”
To achieve that target, Amadi disclosed that the state had expanded its scope of participation by increasing the number of sports it will be competing in from 15, they competed in at the last sports festival in Port Harcourt, to 17. He said, “We are getting stronger now than we were before. Apart from sports like table tennis, wrestling, boxing and weightlifting, we are also getting stronger in Judo and athletics.
Our comprehensive sports development programme is beginning to pay off.” Continuing, he said the state was grooming her own athletes because poaching was against Governor Liyel Imoke’s philosophy of sports development. “It is against this background that we embarked on a comprehensive sports development programme. We want to discover, groom and develop our own athletes who will replace the aging ones. What we are doing now is what all serious state sports councils should be doing because it is the states that supply athletes to the nation.”
The Director said modern sport equipment had just arrived from the USA and the state athletes were going to use them to their advantage. “The equipment would be used for both the Lagos games and the 2014 Games which we will be hosting.”
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