The first sets of medallists have started emerging as the 19th National Sports Festival being staged at the National Stadium Abuja swung into full gear on Friday, 7 December 2018.
The festival which sees a total of 8,861 delegates made up of 7,227 athletes, 710 coaches, 322 other team officials and 602 state delegates from 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory converge on the FCT was declared open on Thursday 6, December by the Minister of Youth and Sports Solomon Dalung and sporting activities kicked off on Friday 7 December.
Kelly Ebi Caleb from Bayelsa state became the first athlete to pick up a gold medal when he rode to victory in the men 200 cycling event. Azeez Mutiu from Delta state took silver while Isah Momoh from Kaduna state took bronze in the cycling event.
In the female category of the Para Powerlifting event, Rukayat Ajiboye of Rivers state took gold with a lift of 107kg. Abokin Loveth lifted 100kg to take silver for Edo state while Onyebueke Chinomso of Abia State took bronze with a lift of 90kg.
Yakub Adesokan of Oyo State won the 49kg men’s Para Powerlifting event with Plateau State’s Emmanuel Ugidu and Mimo Olabode of Oyo state taking silver and bronze respectively.
In other events at the festival which is billed to run till 16 December, there were walkover victories for Dokubo Beregha of Bayelsa state and Omoladun Abibat from Delta state in the table tennis Deaf Women Singles event while Joseph Namo also scored a walkover victory in the men’s category.
In other table tennis news, Segun Toriola and Funke Oshonaike both of Akwa Ibom, Olowoniyi Deji of Ondo, Adeyinka Hammed, Hussain Halimat, Onoja Agnes, Ojomu Ajoke, Kazeem Fatimo and Bello Fatima all secured victory in the Round of 32 in the table tennis events.