Ugo Umeseaka, Managing Director of National Sports Festival Marketing and Management Company Limited, on Wednesday said intense preparations were on to have the best ever National Sports Festival in December.

Umeseaka told newsmen in Abuja that the 2018 NSF, which is the 19th edition, would also be the biggest ever in terms of the preparations and participation.

He said: “Preparations are in top gear to have the best NSF so far in the history of the festival. This is in view of the fact that this edition will have the highest number of events for athletes to compete in.

“Also, a total number of 3,164 medals will be won, with more than 12,000 athletes participating in 37 sports events.

“Out of these number, gold and silver medals will be 987 each, while bronze medals will be 1,190.’’

The official said athletics would be the biggest sport at the festival with 45 events and the largest number of medals — 195.

Umeseaka said: “There will be 65 medals each in the three categories of gold, silver and bronze.

“The swimming sport will also have 38 events, with 150 medals available, while 60 medals will be awarded in gymnastics which has 38 events.

“The lowest number of medals in a sport will be awarded in deaf sports table tennis with only six medals.’’

Umeseaka said notable Nigerians in both the public and private sectors have been contacted for the award of medals to the winning athletes as well as the teams.

He said: “What we are trying to do is to bring many Nigerians out to the venues of events, especially those personalities that we feel will be of help to the growth of sports development in Nigeria.

“We have also contacted the media managers, because their contributions to the development of sports in the country cannot be over-emphasised.

“We want to use this opportunity to attract everyone to the field of sports and l am sure they will all enjoy every moment of their stay outside their offices.’’

On why 37 sports events would feature in the 2018 festival, the Managing Director said the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, through the NSF Main Organising Committee was being proactive.

He said: “The Ministry does not want to deny any youth the opportunity to showcase whatever talents they have.

“In the last edition in Lagos, only 25 events featured. But, this time around, some events are featuring for the first time.

“And what this means is that with the number of events increased, so also is the number of athletes, officials and medals.’’

Meanwhile, the theme song competition for the 2018 NSF will start on Thursday, with the eventual winner goes home with N1 million

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