By Leonard Okachie
A total of 101 Abia athletes will compete in 16 sports categories at the 2020 National Sports Festival in Edo.
He said the contingent also included 13 team leaders, 17 coaches and 20 officials.
The director said the athletes compete in weightlifting, wrestling, kung fu, taekwondo, karate, kick boxing, weightlifting, para-athletics, deaf athletics, darts, boxing, table tennis and others.
He said the team had set a goal of not dropping below fifth, adding that Abia needed to excel in at least 10 of the 16 categories in which the athletes competed.
He said: “Our expectations are very high because we are a force to be reckoned with.
“We are going to a sports festival that has suffered so many postponements; as a result, the interest of other states will be very high.
“Our state must be counted among the other states that have performed well on the medal table.”
Mr. Friday Ikpoha, the permanent secretary of the state’s Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, told NAN that the state government funded the team.
He said the team was moving to Edo properly prepared.
He hoped the team would win gold and silver medals.
Previously, Ikpoha, while addressing the athletes, instructed them to achieve victory, ensuring them adequate compensation.
He charged them to be disciplined and good ambassadors of the state.
Abia team captain Kalu Eke has vowed the athletes will make the state proud.
NAN reports that all athletes and those accompanying them were vaccinated against COVID-19 before their departure. (NOPE)