The Edo State Government has announced that it is confident and prepared to host 11,500 athletes and officials at the 20th National Sports Festival which kicks off in Benin City on March 22.

The swimming event of the ongoing National Sports Festival, tagged: “Edo 2020,” on Monday produced new records.

Newsmen report that new national records were set by swimmers from Delta, Bayelsa and Edo States on Day 1 of competition in the event.

Ifiesegba Gagbe of Bayelsa State became the new record-holder in the 100m freestyle women with her time of 1:01.54 minute.

Gagbe broke the record of 1:02.66min set by Okpilobo of Ondo State at the Lagos 2012 edition of the festival.

Similarly, Uwaje Ilayefa of Edo State, who came second with a time of 1:01.96, also surpassed the former record-holder time.

A new record was also set in the 200m butterfly women by Delta State’s Timipamere Akiayefa.

Meanwhile, Bayelsa and Delta States have started the rush for gold at the ongoing NSF by winning five gold medals apiece on Day 1 of the festival.

Newsmen report that seven of the 10 gold medals won by both states came from the swimming competition.

While Team Bayelsa claimed three gold medals from the pool, Delta won four to close the opening day with five gold medals each.


Team Delta started the day with a gold medal in cycling when Ese Ukpeseraye beat 12 other cyclists to the finish line in the 80km road race for women.

Newsmen report that in swimming, the 100m breaststroke men event was won by Foresight Osamezu of Delta State with Edo and Cross River States winning the silver and bronze medals respectively.

Bayelsa’s Ifiezegbe Gagbe won the women’s 100m freestyle, with Edo winning the silver and Delta’s Timipamere Akiayefa winning the bronze medal.

Again, Akiayefa of Delta won her first gold medal of the day after the bronze medal she won earlier.

She raced to the finishing line ahead of Kano state and Bayelsa athletes in the women’s 200m Butterfly.

It was another gold medal for Delta in the 50m backstroke women event as Akiayefa won her third medal of the day, the second gold.

Edo and Bayelsa athletes finished second and third respectively.

Team Bayelsa also won two gold medals and a bronze medal in judo to cap a memorable opening day of action at the 20th NSF.

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