18TH NATIONAL SPORTS FESTIVAL, EKO 2012: Lagos State Ups Standard For the 12 days Mini Olympics

Rivers state did set a high standard in 2011 when they hosted the National Sports Festival (NSF) in Port Harcourt. It was a display of cultural exuberance and hospitality. Many commentators felt it would be hard for any other state in Nigeria to match such feat. Anyway, Lagos state is set to up the standard again in ‘Eko 2012.’

The Rasmatazz And Publicity Stunts:

You can feel it on the air. The rasmatazz and publicity stunts is something else. Coming from the toll gate into the city of Lagos, you would find all lamp posts and Bill boards announcing the sports festival. And yet when you board BRT (Mass Transit) buses, the event Ads are shown repeatedly on video screen inside the bus.

It’s like Lagos state is undergoing an entire re-construction process with various renovations and new construction works going on everywhere – the National Arts thearter, Roll Park, Onikan stadium, UNILAG…

Hosting Experiment:

The NSF Local Organizing Committee (LOC) chairman and also Lagos State Deputy governor, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire said, “We’re looking beyond the standard set at Port Harcourt in 2011. Our sports loving governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has giving us the go ahead to use Eko 2012 to experiment as well as prove to the world that Lagos state can host the Olympics. This is going to be a mini olympics. We want to replicate as much as what we saw at the London Olympics.”

Opening Ceremony:

Eko 2012 Eyo Masqurade
Watch out for the opening ceremony on Tuesday, November 27, by 4pm at Teslim Balogun Stadium . Be expectant and open hearted as to the wonders Lagos state is about to perform. Well, if nothing else, you can be sured to find the ‘Eyo Masqurade’ – the symbol of Eko. As at the time of writing this post, construction works and reharrassals were still going on at the venue.

Lagos has assembled over a thousand volunteer workers and you can be rest assured to get required attention. Both Security and medical facilities put in place are world class.The festival will be on everyday for 12 days – from November 27 to December 9, 2012.

Extending Hands of Friendship:

Eko 2012 Mascot and LOC Members
Taking into consideration of the percarious state of the country now as well as understanding the unifying effect of sports in our national mindframe, Lagos state has decided to use Eko 2012 to extend hands of friendship to fellow Nigerians. It’s not just about winning at all cost, it’s more about show casing the possibilities of our co-existence – the power that reside in unity in our diversity.

Discovering of the Next Olympic Talents:

Lagos State Athletes for Eko 2012
Among other things, one of the goals of Eko 2012 is to discover real talents that has the potentials to represent Nigeria and to become champions in future olympic games.

No doubt about it, Lagos will be competing strong, ‘to host and win!’ The state will be presenting a formidable team of athletes for every sports they are participating. But the major purpose is to discover as many talents as possible. Remember, ‘Nigeria Got Talents.’

Accommodations And Game Venues Are ready:

UNILAG Accommodation for Athletes
Almost 12, 000 Athletes will be camping at UNILAG, YabaTech and the Technical School Yaba.

• Teslim Balogun Stadium would host events in athletics, squash, gymnastics, swimming, taekwondo, ayo and volleyball.

• The National Stadium would host events in javelin, discuss, shot-put, hammer, chess, table tennis and kokawa.

• University of Lagos would host handball, powerlifting, football, wrestling, judo and abula.

• Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) would host handball, kickboxing and football events.

• Mobolaji Sports Centre, Rowe Park, would host badminton and basketball; while the National Institute for Sports (NIS) would host hockey, scrabble and boxing.

• Other venues include Oba Elegushi Roundabout in Epe, for cycling; Onikan and Agege Stadiums would host football.

Football Event:

football Event
Without being told, we all know football will always be the major highlight of any sporting festival in Nigeria. And NSF is not an exception. In fact, winning the football gold medal is like winning the ultimate prize of the festival. And no state will truly feel they have won anything, no matter how many medals in their kits, if they didn’t win in football event.

Now, ‘Let the Game Begin!’ Football game is already on even before the opening ceremony. Spectators are already turning out enmass at Onikan Stadium and UNILAG sportcity to see some of the games.

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