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Officials, athletes say increased allowances will enhance performances at future NSF editions

By Meletus EZE

Some team officials and athletes at the ongoing 19th National Sports Festival (NSF) say increased allowances to athletes by states they represent will surely enhance performances at the Festival’s future editions.

He said that in major sports events like the NSF, athletes are often given daily allowances.

They are often rewarded financially if they perform brilliantly.

However, the allowances vary from state to state, depending on their financial capabilities.

Athletes and officials who spoke on Saturday at the Abuja National Stadium where the 19th NSF was currently holding however said there was the need for an increase.

They argued that such an increase would no doubt enhance performance.

Ikati James, Assistant Coach of Langa in Bayelsa, said that poor mobilisation leads to poor results.

“There is the need for states to support athletes with attractive allowances or, if not possible, modest allowances in spite of their fragile financial situation.

“Such support will spur these athletes to give in their best in the sport they are participating in.

“The allowances for now are very poor. In fact it is shameful for some states who pay as little as N3,000 as daily allowances.

“It’s not encouraging at all. The mobilisation you give athletes is very important.

“It makes the athletes to perform very well or poorly. I urge states to do better in future,” he said.

Moses Minitu, an athlete representing Adamawa in the male chess category, said the allowances help the athletes to take care of many pressing personal needs.

He said such needs, if not taken care of, could hinder an athlete’s performance due to lack of concentration.

“A good allowance is very important, because whether you like it or not, these athletes are humans and have responsibilities.

“When you give them an attractive allowance that can help them take care of many pressing needs, they are happy to work hard to achieve the goal the state set for them,” Minitu said.

Sarah Samuel, a basketballer for Adamawa female team, said an attractive allowance will spur more youths to try their luck and fully focus on sports activities.

She said such youths would see sports as a source of livelihood, instead of waiting for white collar jobs.

“There are many youths who play these games better than we do but have shown no interest because of the poor remuneration gotten from sports.

“If good allowances are given to us, many more youths will show interest in sports and you will see sports becoming a key sector of the economy because everybody will benefit.

“But our leaders don’t see it that way. All they are thinking about now is the 2019 general elections,” Samuel said.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO), Nasarawa State Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, Eche Amos, said athletes deserved to ask for more if what they were being given was not encouraging.

He warned that athletes should also be conscious of the financial capacity of their states and make modest requests they thought their states could fulfil.

Amos who supported the view that allowances for athletes should be reviewed upward however warned athletes against comparing the allowances one state give to that which another state offer.

He said this was because “all hands are not equal’’.

“For us in Nasarawa State, apart from the allowances our athletes get for participating in this festival, the state government will give handsome rewards to each medallist from the state.

“But I also want to advise our athletes not to be discouraged by whatever they are given, but continue to work hard to excel in what they do,” the PRO said.

the NSF which kicked off on Dec. 6 is scheduled to end on Sunday.


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