National Sports Festival (Day 4 Wrap): More swimming medals give Team Delta early lead

Team Delta are gradually pulling away from the rest of the participating states on the medals’ table at the ongoing National Sports Festival in Abuja as they continued their dominance at the pool, on Sunday, adding six more gold medals to their total array.

In the 200m Backstroke Women, Timpamere Akiayefa of Team Delta won with a time of 2.50.09 while Bayelsa’s Ifiezebe Gagbe and Febisola Adamolekun from Team Oyo settled for silver and bronze medals respectively.

There was huge jubilation at the poolside as Okpochini Deborah, who broke a 27-year old record on Saturday, broke yet another festival record, this time in the 1500m Women Freestyle event, where she won with a time of 21.05.10.

Deborah broke the previous record of 21.26.88 set by Blessing Forcados who also competed for Delta State in the 2006 edition of the National Sports Festival held in Ogun State.

Bayelsa settled for silver again while Team Lagos’ Oluchi Obi got the bronze medal.

Team Delta continued their fine form winning the 4x200m event ahead of Team Kano in second place and Team Edo in the third position.

Iyadi Chinelo added another gold to Team Delta’s total haul as she won the 50m Breaststroke for Women.

However, Team Delta had to settle for the silver in 50m Butterfly Men as veteran swimmer Yeiyah Yellow picked the gold for Kano State.

Confidence Isobo won the bronze medal for Rivers State.

Timpamere Akiayefa of Team Delta won her second gold in Sunday’s events as she finished tops in the 400m Individual Medley Women Event ahead of Bayelsa’s Ifezibe Gagbe and John Faith from Lagos who finished second and third, respectively.

Also, Nmor Ifeakachukwu made up for his ‘loss’ in the 50m Butterfly Men event as he won 200m Individual Medley with a new festival record time of 02.18.44.

Nmor broke the previous record of 2.20.94 set by Kingsley Forces who competed for Delta at Eko 2012.

He told PREMIUM TIMES he was delighted to set another record and win gold for Delta State. According to him, the superlative performance from him and his colleagues is a return on the investment made by the state government.

“It’s payback time for the huge investment the government has made on us, most of us are employed and paid monthly by the Delta State government and with the extra incentive we have been given before coming to Abuja, we are all motivated to do our best,” the multi-gold medallist stated.

Upsets Galore

A relatively unknown Anambra volleyball team defeated a star-studded Rivers State side at the outdoor court of the Package B stadium in the Volleyball opener on Sunday.

The Willie Obiano boys shocked the Rivers State’s team filled with former senior national team players in front of a mammoth crowd at the ongoing National Sports Festival.

Anambra unexpectedly took the first set by 25-21 causing panic in the camp of the Rivers State team, led by the NSCDC coach. The second set resumed as Rivers State hurriedly dispatched Anambra by 25-16.

Anambra, who paraded a younger side took advantage of the loose balls in the third set to win 25-19 but Rivers State fought hard to secure the fourth set.

The fifth set went the way of Anambra State, despite the crowd supporting Rivers State.

In the female category, Delta State came from behind to beat Plateau State 3-2 (25-27), (25-21, 25-17, 25-21).

Ondo State will face Plateau State on Monday by 8 a.m.

There was also a major upset in the Table Tennis event where well-respected legends, Segun Toriola and Funke Oshonaike crashed out of the Mixed Doubles after they were beaten 12-10, 7-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8 by Team Oyo.

Elsewhere, an SS 2 student, Adijat Azeez, 16, from Ondo State defeated Edo’s Blessing Obaraje in the -70kg women category to win gold in the Judo event at the ongoing National Sports Festival.

Esther Augustine of Delta and Akuki Joseph of Nasarawa settled for the bronze medals in the category.

The wave of upsets continued in the Power lifting event where World Record holder, Paul Kehinde, who is competing for Delta State was beaten to the gold medal in Male – 65kg by Rasaq Moftau (Osun). Kola Ojo from Lagos, claimed the bronze medal.

Delta added another gold to their tally as Oluwole Olugbile won the -88kg category ahead of Wilson Monday (Plateau) and Daniel Omogba (Edo).

In the Male – 59kg Dauda Ibrahim (Oyo) won gold while Rafiu Olalekan (Rivers) got the silver and Abbey Robert (Delta) settled for the bronze medal.

While Delta State was dominating in the pool, Kano State was doing same in the Taekwondo event as it won three gold medals in Day 1 of Poomase events.

Lagos State is behind with a gold medal, two silver and same number of bronze medals.

Kebbi State is third, with a solitary gold medal.

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