President Muhammadu Buhari has okayed National Honours and cash awards of N200 million for Team Nigeria contingents to the 2022 Commonwealth Games and World Athletics championships.
The President announced this Thursday in Abuja while speaking at a presidential reception in honour of the athletes.
Buhari said his government was committed to rewarding excellence, no less for members of Team Nigeria who ignited the spirit of victory in the nation through stellar performances at international competitions.
The President, who congratulated all the awardees and recipients, expressed confidence that this will spur them to greater heights.
”I watched with millions of Nigerians those exciting moments when you all brought smiles to us and our homes by breaking world, national and games records, as well as achieving personal best in your careers.”
Your outstanding performances in recent times are consistent with the determination of a nation always yearning for excellent performance. ‘You all, members of Team Nigeria have ignited the spirit for victory in our nation but even more you have been victorious in major sporting championships and games.
”I have followed keenly your achievements at the World Championships in Oregon USA and indeed your remarkable performance at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
”And I am very pleased that you displayed at both the personal and group levels great sporting talents and delivered for your country great podium performances,” he said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.
The President told the athletes that their hour of sporting glory beamed the ‘‘radar of the world on Nigeria’’, adding that their exploits have gone a long way in projecting the positive image of the country.
President Buhari called out the names of the gold winners and other medal winners including the world champion in the 100m hurdles, Tobiloba Amusan, Ese Brume, Blessing Oborodudu , Oluwafemiayo Folashade, Taiwo Liadi, Ikechukwu Obichukwu, Bose Omolayo, Favour Ofili, Nasiru Sule, Ifechukwude Ikpeoyi, Ebikewenimo Welson, Hannah Rueben and Elizabeth Oshoba.
The President expressed satisfaction with the impact the Adopt-An-Athlete Initiative of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports had on the performance of athletes.
He urged more private individuals and corporate organisations to support government’s investment in sports, which had been reclassified from being a recreational activity to being a business in line with modern practices worldwide.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, described 2022 as an outstanding year in the history of Nigerian sports, which shall not be forgotten in a hurry.
Dare said in track and field, Amusan in a span of four months won Nigeria’s first ever gold medal in World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, USA with a world record performance in an event highly dominated by the Americans and Europeans.
She also successfully defended her Commonwealth Games title, which she won in 2018 in Gold Coast, with a games record in 2022 in Birmingham; and Diamond League title in Zurich, Switzerland on September 8, 2022, the Minister said, adding that this remarkable performance has never been achieved by any Nigerian in the history of our sports.