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No fewer than 7,000 athletes and officials are to participate in the second edition of the Kogi Sports Festival scheduled for April 23 to May 1 in Lokoja.

The state's Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Henry Ukwubile, told newsmen on Tuesday in Lokoja that the event would be preceded by zonal eliminations for team sports in eight centres between April 19 and April 21.

Ukwubile, who is also the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, said the lack of modern facilities remained a big challenge.

The commissioner said all the facilities used for the first edition in 1998 were no longer in place.

He said facilities identified in some schools and establishments in Lokoja were in a bad shape, noting that substantial funds would be required to renovate or upgrade them.

Ukwubile said the state government had already made N20m available to the committee, but pointed out that the money was inadequate.