Team FCT Garners 59 Medals at 21st National Sports Festival

By: Gyang Dakwo

The FCT contingent to the just concluded 21st National Sports Festival in Asaba, Delta state has been commended by sports stakeholders for putting up an excellent performance that has made the nation’s capital proud.

Team FCT garnered a total of 59 medals comprising 15 gold, 11 silver, and 33 bronze medals to place 9th on the overall medals table.

FCT Acting Director of Sports, Luka Istifanus who spoke to Abuja Digest on arrival from the games described it as the “Best ever outing by the FCT outside Abuja.”  He said before now the FCT had always been placed somewhere in the middle of the table with the exception of the 2004 and 2018 editions when the territory hosted the games.

Istifanus attributed the successful outing to the support and provision of the necessary logistics by the FCT Administration as well as the freehand given to the sports department to carry out its preparations. This he said coupled with the commitment exhibited by the entire team coaches, athletes, sports associations, and department staff- contributed to the success of the Delta 2022 campaign.

“We had initially planned to go to Asaba with 150 athletes but after making an appraisal of our medal-winning chances we added 69 more to make it 219,” Istifanus said.  The reason for this is that you stand a better chance of winning more medals if you participate in a wide range of events by featuring a larger number of athletes. We took this decision because after looking at the past performances of Team FCT we discovered that our best came when we hosted and so were able to participate in many events since the issue of logistics like travel and to some extent, accommodation was minimized. I am happy to say that it paid off at the end with a wonderful top ten performance.”

While appreciating the support given to the team by the “FCT sports-loving community”, Istifanus disclosed that a post-mortem of the Asaba outing will be carried out with the aim of setting the course for preparations ahead of the next sports festival and other subsequent competitions.

Likewise Chairman of the FCT Judo Association, Anthony Yakse who expressed satisfaction with the performance of FCT at the games said that it could be better with early preparations, motivation, provision of needed infrastructure and equipment as well as a robust talent development campaign.

He pointed out that for such a decent result to be sustained there must be a well-planned approach to talent discovery and development with the grassroots included in view of the talents that abound therein. He believes if planned and carried out properly has the capacity to turn the territory into the hub of sports in Nigeria.

Yakse who is a Judoka praised the performance of the FCT judokas at the games and stressed that opportunity should be given to young Nigerians to come into judo right from primary school in view of the importance of judo in physical fitness and most importantly self-defense.

“FCT performed so well in the judo events and I am sure some of them will be called up in the national camp, so I am very happy for the FCT and we are willing and ready to sustain the momentum,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ogun state has been announced as the host for the next edition of the National Sports Festival in 2024.