Team Delta on Monday opened the gate for medal rush with gold from the 80km road race for women at the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival.

Ese Ukpeseraye beat 12 other cyclists to cross the finish line and clinch the first gold medal at the games ongoing in Benin city, the Edo state capital.

Host state Edo settled for the silver and bronze medals when Ayuba sisters – Comfort and Grace – came second and third respectively.

Elsewhere, Team Bayelsa sent a clear statement of intent after winning three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals from swimming.

Ifiemi Gagbe got the campaign going as she won the gold medal in 100 meters freestyle in swimming, while Golden Ifie made it two just as Yellow Yeighya completed the hat-trick of gold medals in the men’s 200m freestyle events.

Earlier, Doutimi Gagbe settled for the bronze medal in 200 meters Butterfly Stroke event.

Team Bayelsa also won two gold medals and a bronze in Judo to cap a memorable opening day of action at the National Sports Festival.

Ese Bassey and Selere Mathias got gold medals while Udeze Amarachi had bronze.

Team Oyo and Taraba were reinstated on Monday to participate in the games after being barred from competing.

Organisers had barred both teams from the event after they failed to produce the evidence of COVID-19 vaccination for their athletes.

The decision was later rescinded after the authorities of both states arrived with the certificates, in line with the directives of the COVID-19 protocols for the games.

Team Oyo has already featured in the swimming event.