Kelvin Obambon|7 December 2018
The Cross River State contingent to the 19th edition of the National Sports Festival (NSF) had on Thursday morning arrived the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in preparation for the event, billed to take place from the 6th to 16th December, 2018 NEGROIDHAVEN can say.
The team which is made up of 55 athletes will participate in eight different games among which are taekwondo, athletics, swimming, wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, karate and table tennis.
Leading Team Cross River to this year's event, the chairman, Cross River State Sports Commission, Chief Orok Duke, expressed optimism that athletes from Cross River would rise up to the occasion by winning medals for the state.
He said all the 55 athletes who are to take part in the various competitions are groomed in Cross River State, which according to him is in line with government's determination to develop sport in the state.
''We intend to win medals in all the sports we brought here. We came strictly based on our conviction that we will win medals in the selected sports we are participating in.
"All the people in our contingent are from Cross River. We groomed them. We don't buy mercenaries.", Duke explained.
Some of the athletes in Team Cross River who spoke with our correspondent expressed happiness for being selected to represent the state in such an august event and therefore promised to be at their best throughout the competition.
Meanwhile the minister of sports and youths development, Comrade Solomon Dalung, has described the national sports festival as one of the three pillars of national unity and integration, aside the National Youth Service scheme and the Federal Capital Territory.
The minister made this assertion yesterday while speaking at the opening ceremony to officially kick-start activities in the 19th edition of the national sports festival in Abuja.
"Let me assure Nigerians that we will continue to sustain the national sports festival as one of our national legacies for the unity of this country. There are three institutions we cannot afford to toy with – the national sports festival, the national youth service corps and the Federal Capital Territory. These three represent the fulcrum of our national unity.", Dalung said.
Newsmen had earlier on Thursday reported that out of 8,861 participants, 7,227 are athletes, 710 coaches, 222 are team members while 702 are state officials.