By Kehinde Osagiede
Former Commonwealth champion and three time National Sports Festival record holder,Curtis Onaghinor has commended Edo state government for making it possible for Edo athletes to compete at the just concluded National Sports Festival in Abuja and for securing the hosting right to stage the 2020 edition in Benin.
In an exclusive interview, the former African weightlifting champion admitted that the government provided a welfare package that athletes and coaches have never received in the history of Edo participation in the national games.
Curtis revealed that Edo athletes used to receive N1000 and N1500 as camping (home)and festival proper allowances respectively in the previous editions but that Obaseki government did an upward review by increasing camping allowance to N3000 against N1000 and festival proper allowance to N4000 against N1500, saying government deserved some commendations.
He said that athletes and coaches are not ungrateful but that the truth is that they were overwhelmed by the poor camping arrangement and the hiccups caused by the delay in payment of the allowances.
The Edo weightlifting great who won 2 gold and 1silver medals for Edo in IMO 1998, 3 gold each in Bauchi 2000 and Gateway 2006 specially thanked the deputy Governor of Edo state Rt Hon Philip Shaibu for his undiluted commitment to sports development in Edo state.
“We have never had It so good that a sitting Deputy Governor will leave his office comfort and be with athletes for days far away from home, cheering the athletes at different events centres across the national stadium as our deputy Governor did in Abuja.
I swear! That guy is something else. He is just a wonderful person and Edo sports men and women will remain grateful to him and the Governor. His style of motivation is quite effective than money”. He explained.
The weightlifter who is presently treating a shoulder injury appealed to Edo government to ensure early preparation and better welfare for athletes ahead of the 2020 20th edition which will be hosted by the state. He however lauded the state contingent for making Edo proud at the just concluded Abuja games insisting that their share commitment was a reflection of the results and overall number 3 position of the state.