Hunger-stricken Athletes competing for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at the ongoing National Sports Festival (NSF) are currently groaning over lack of adequate feeding, accommodation and outright non-payment of their camp and training allowances.
Blueprint Sports crew covering the sporting fiesta which began last week Thursday observed how medals won by Abuja Contingent were not awarded.
Further inquiry by our Correspondent who been keeping close watch on various happenings within Abuja National stadium and Old Parade ground, venues for the NSF revealed that the reason behind non-delivery of medals so far won by FCT Athletes due to inability of the Nation’s capital officials to pay mandatory affiliation fees for participating Athletes, meant to be registered for different sporting activities.
“When the festival was about to start, those in charge of Athletes meant to compete for FCT pleaded for time to pay for affiliation and participation fees. And we told them (based on the rules and regulations guiding the competition) to sign an undertaken, indicating their willingness to pay while the games are on, but to our greatest surprise no payment has been made.
“And we have been instructed, still in line with the rules governing this festival that any state that hasn’t paid won’t be awarded medals whenever they win. Of all states, FCT is supposed to lead the way because they are the host. The way some of us saw the Minister of FCT parade with the entire contingent, we don’t believe he can sit and watch this kind of thing happen without being disturbed,” an irked intermediate Civil Servant with Ministry of Youth and Sports Development who doesn’t want her name on print told Blueprint.
While Blueprint made frantic efforts to find out number of Athletes that finally settled to compete despite non-payment of backlog of training and camp allowances, an Abuja para-swimming Athletes in tears said: “How can I and my teammates be working hard, doing our best to do FCT proud, yet we are begging to feed and remain in camp.
“Every time, our coaches and other senior sports People will continue to plead with us to be patient, how long are we going to wait. Some of us are still exercising patient, while a good number among us left angrily to compete for other states, ready to take care of their Athletes?
Already, no fewer than 15 medals have been won by FCT despite all odds. Effort to get reactions from Director of Sports in Abuja proved abortive after she failed to respond to calls and messages sent to her via her handset.