After weeks of uncertainty around having the National Sports Festival and when, the Sports Ministry and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 have provided some clarity: Edo 2020 will now hold from 3-17 January 2021.
The decision was confirmed by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 following a virtual meeting between its National Coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu, and the Minister of Sports Sunday Dare on Thursday.
The sports ministry said in a statement that rescheduling the multi-sport event to next year would enable the PTF, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Edo State Government and the Ministry complete the groundwork for a hitch free festival in light of the disruptions of the coronavirus.
The added time would also ensure the “deployment of rapid diagnostic test kits for over 11,000 athletes,” the statement added.
The event also known as ‘Edo 2020’ was initially scheduled for March 2020 but was postponed indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following the lifting of restrictions on contact sports in October, the National Sports Council and the LOC fixed 3-18 December for the commencement of the event subject to approval by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.
The PTF, however, failed to grant approval leading to strong criticism from the Edo state deputy governor and LOC chairman Philip Shaibu who accused the Task Force of acting on bad advice.
With the Tokyo Games also holding next year, the National Sports Festival could act as a tune up for athletes looking to compete in Japan.