It was a day of “see it myself” and frank talk on Wednesday at the Akure Sports Complex.
The atmosphere was brought about by visit of the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Dotun Owanikin, who had on-the-spot assessment of facilities and held a meeting with the athletes.
Accompanied by managements of both the Ministry and Sports Council, Mr. Owanikin, who checked the state of facilities at the offices, the swimming pool and all games courts located within and outside the complex was conducted round by the General Manager of the Council, Chief Wande Fabuluje.
During his meeting with the athletes, the Commissioner expressed government pleasure with the way and manner they were projecting Ondo State image with resounding victories.
“I must confess that the government is proud of the efforts you are putting up at competitions. Individually and collectively, you make the state proud. At the 2018 National Sports Festival, we were 10th. All hands must be on deck to improve on that. We want to to be 1st at Edo 2020. We are here to serve you. Bring up your challenges, we shall tackle them.”
He charged the management to lay more emphasis on areas the state has comparative advantage and events that attract multiple medals.
“In order to improve on our last performance, we have to get our priorities right. Our athletes are our priority. How we treat them will determine their performance and output. We must focus more on sporting events in which we are doing better than others, naturally and games that fetch multiple medals than singular medal-yielding events.”
Mr. Owanikin expressed Mr. Governor’s expectation from the Ministry and the Council.
“The Governor, Arakunrin Akeredolu is a keen sports enthusiast. Being a former sportsman, he values the sector, hence his prompt response to sporting issues. Everything must be done to repay government huge investment in sports. For whom much is given, much is expected. The responsibility of government is to provide funds, which the government is doing, let us pay back with victories upon victories. This is the only way we can encourage him to do more.”
Some of respondents to the Commissioner’s address called for provision of modern facilities at the Stadium to enable Athletes train and get better.
Earlier, the General Manager, Chief Fabuluje said he took the Commissioner round the length and breadth of the Complex to see “our nakedness”
Going down the memory lane, he explained that Mr. Governor had been supportive to sports.
“The last National Sports Festival we attended in Abuja, which government funded was not budgeted for. It was facilitated through re-ordered budget. That shows the passion he has for the sector. We are grateful to him.”
On the Commissioner’s entourage were the Permanent Secretary, Dr. (Mrs) Dupe Eshofonie and Director Sports Department, Mrs. Evlyn Lebi.