The Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the ongoing Seventh National Youth Games in Asaba, Delta State has explained the rationale behind accommodation situation, which has resulted to some athletes sleeping on mattresses on the floor.
Pictures of some of the athletes sleeping on mattresses in their hostel surfaced yesterday, with some people accusing the LOC of not making adequate accommodation arrangement for the athletes.
However, the Chairman of the LOC, Tonobok Okowa, explained to journalists covering the Games that some of the states brought more than the required number of athletes entered for the Games.
“To organise a successful National Sports Festival needs long planning, and we did all our arrangement long before now,” Okowa stated. He added: “There is what we call Delegate Registration Meeting (DRM), and at the meeting with the Main Organising Committee (MOC), every state presented the number of athletes they are bringing to the NYG. That was how we arrived at that number of 4,500 athletes for the Games.
“But to our surprise, some states brought in more athletes than the required number to congest the hostel accommodation. They took them to the hostel even without our knowledge.
“For instance, Bayelsa has 366 athletes in the DRM, but they brought in additional 50 athletes, which has put their total athletes at 416. Kwara state was supposed to present 167 athletes for the Games, but the state now has 194 athletes (27 extra).
“Osun State was supposed to present 107, but they now have 144 athletes (37 extra), while Benue State was supposed to present 56 athletes, but they now have 84 (28 extra).”
There are other states with additional number of athletes here, and it will be difficult to prevent the young athletes from using the hostel facilities. We also cater for their feeding. There might be some difficulties providing complete full bed hostels for all of the 4,500 registered athletes and the extra ones.
“Don’t also forget that this Games was earlier scheduled September 7, when schools were still on holidays. With postponement to September 20 through 30 when schools have resumed, it became difficult to secure hostel facilities as had earlier been arranged with various schools.
“With this development, while we have some full bed hostels, the LOC also got halls where mattresses would be full put on the floor. It is unfair for some people to start putting the blame on us because everything we did was communicated to the Federal Ministry of Sports and the Committee of Directors of Sports of the states and the LOC got the clearance to proceed,” Okowa explained.