President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, in Abuja approved conferment of national honours and cash awards of N200 million for Team Nigeria contingents to the 2022 Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championships.
Speaking at a presidential reception in honour of the athletes, the President reaffirmed his government’s commitment 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.
Congratulating all the awardees and recipients, he expressed confidence that the gesture will spur them to greater heights. The president, who described the athletes as champions, worthy ambassadors, national heroes and heroines, praised them for proudly flying the Nigerian flag in nine sporting events.
“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, U.S. 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.
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.
Reiterating the commitment of this administration in providing the enabling environment for youths to ascend to the pinnacle of their chosen careers, 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 has been reclassified from being a recreational activity to being a business in line with modern practices worldwide.