Athletes in Kogi State are currently stranded in Lokoja ahead of the 7th edition of National Youth Games schedule to take place in Asaba, Delta State.
It was gathered that the hope of the athletes participating in this year competition is gradually fading away over release of funds by the Kogi State Government.
Some of the athletes spotted by our correspondent on Wednesday at the Lokoja Confluence Stadium expressed frustration and disappointment over the development.
They were seen roaming around the length and breath of Kogi State confluence stadium hoping to hear the news that money has been released for them to travel to Asaba, Delta State, South South Nigeria.
Speaking under the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak, one of the athletes said it will amount to total disgrace if Kogi State fails to participate in this year competition.
According to him, athletes have training for several weeks to ensure they will laurels for Kogi State.
He, however, appeal to Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello to urgently do the needful by releasing funds for athletes to go and participate in the youths competition.
“Kogi State athletes have been preparing for several weeks for this year competition. But to our greatest dismay, our preparation might be fruitless due to the recent development that their is still no money for us to travel for the competition. Who have we offended? They should forgive us.
“It will be a slap on our face if at the end Kogi athletes fail to compete in this year youth game. With our level of preparation, we are very confident that Kogi State will surpass previous records in this tournament.
“If we fail to make it to this trip latest tomorrow Thursday, that means it is over. There is no way we can participate in this year competition. Am using this medium to appeal to Governor Yahaya Bello to release funds for us to participate in this year tournament. The competition is just one day to begin. Being stranded in Lokoja due to lack of money does not speak well for our dear State,” he stated.
The Kogi State Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Hon. Idris Musa had during an interview with journalists recently stated that, Kogi State is fully prepared for this year youth game.
But he failed to disclose if funds have been released for Kogi State to participate in the competition.
It was learnt that a total of 71 athletes is expected to represent Kogi State in the 10 days sporting event in Asaba.
The sports which Kogi State athletes will participate are Athletics, badminton, cricket, boxing, table tennis, Taekwondo, tennis, shooting, weight lifting, wrestling, beach volleyball, and Judo.
The Federal Ministry of Sports Development had announced September 20th – 30th, 2023 as the new date for the 7th edition of the National Youth Games, which will be held in Asaba, Delta State.