The Technical Committee of the National Sport Council held a meeting on the 14th March, in Benin City in earnest for the adequate preparation for the 20th National Sports Festival to be hosted by Edo State Government.
Several recommendations were made which includes upgrading some international games to the compulsory category and relegating some to the optional category for the National Sports Festival.
These decisions were made by votes of the state delegates. Sports upgraded includes Scrabble, which got 28 votes, while 26 states voted for Karate, Kick boxing and Kung Fu, 22 states voted for Squash.
The Decisions also includes having 32 Sports for the first time at the Festivals, the 32 games comprises of 27 compulsory games and five optional which will feature at the 20th National Sport Festival.
The five optional Sport will be chosen by the Host State from the 24 Optional Sport which includes Rugby, Cricket, Golf, Canoeing, etc.
The 27 Compulsory Sports were voted for by the delegates based on the below criteria.
The Criteria given by the Technical Committee for selection into compulsory and optional category are:
The Popularity of the Sport in the 36 states of the federation and FCT.
Using Popularity test as the first measure to determine if a Sport will be compulsory or take place at the National Sport Festival is tantamount to hindrance to Sport Growth, The term popularity is very relative not all Sport has a global audience.
So therefore Popularity shouldn’t be a measure to determine what sport should be compulsory or Optional at the National Sport Festival.
Moreover the National Sport Festival is our own Olympics so therefore all efforts made by the ‘’unpopular’’ sports Association should be considered as a criteria for a selection for participation at the National Sport Festival.
For example, the efforts of Amputee Football Federation last year to feature at the Amputee World Cup in Mexico is enough to make them part of the Compulsory Sport of the 20th National Sport Festival
State Entries in the Sport in Previous Festival.
If this criteria continue to be a measure for Sport Participation, some games will never be held at the Sport Festival. The winning at all cost syndrome which was exhibited at the last National Sport whereby State will only participate in events they hope to get a medals even though they have Sport Association of other sports.
For example, a lot of states have an associations of traditional sports like Dambe, Abuja, Ayo, Langa, Kokawa, but because of the states’ low investment and lack of interest, the sports will continue to have low entries by State.
Standard of Nigeria’s Participation in the Sport at the International Level.
Out of the 32 Sports Events to be held at the 20th National Sport in Edo State, only a handful has made up proud at the International Stage and few has featured in World acclaimed competitions.
This criteria will continue to kill sports that is not a competing Sport in international competition but are recognized by International Bodies
The three major criteria taken by the National Sport Councils during their Extra Meeting in Edo State shouldn’t be a criteria for any sport in Nigeria should be consider for a National Sport Festival.