The Edo State Government has said all the 8,000 athletes expected from the 35 states and the FCT to participate at the 20th National Sports Festival must be administered the COVID-19 vaccines, the sportsbay.com reports.
The athletes will be vaccinated before arrival for the country’s showpiece sports event scheduled for Benin City from April 2 to 14.
In a statement on Sunday signed by Edo State Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, who also doubles as the Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the festival, the state reeled out several guidelines for the event, following an earlier meeting with the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development.
“MOC (Main Organising Committee) has decided that all athletes/officials from the 36 states and the FCT participating in the National Sports Festival must take COVID-19 tests 72 hours before arrival for the tournament,” the statement read in part.
“All athletes/officials are to take COVID-19 vaccines at least 12 days before arrival for the tournament.
“Athletes/officials are to present certificates and documentation of COVID-19 tests and vaccination before they can be admitted into the Games Villages in the state.”
The statement added that the Games Village will open on April 2 for athletes and officials, with the Torch of Unity billed to arrive Edo State on April 3.
The torch will go round the 18 local government areas of the state, before arriving the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, where Governor Godwin Obaseki would light it up on April 6.
In line with COVID-19 protocols, athletes and officials expected to participate in the Games have been reduced from 14,000 to 8,000 participants, the statement added.
“Officials of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control will arrive Benin City four days to the commencement of the festival, to monitor compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.
Attendance at the Games is strictly regulated, with the tag-line for the Games still ‘Edo 2020’, despite the postponement occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Edo State and the sports ministry also agreed that the country’s contingent to the Olympics would be camped in the state for preparation for the games, “to take advantage of the world-class equipment and facilities in the state.”