The Ministry of Youth and Sports has rewarded the first batch of medallists at the ongoing African Games in Morocco. 58 athletes and 4 officials got cash awards ranging from $3000 for Gold, $2000 for silver and $1500 for bronze medallists. Gold medallists in team events got $6000, Bronze got $4500, while the Badminton mixed team players shared $18,000.
At a brief ceremony on Tuesday at the Games Village, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports Mr Olusade Adesola thanked the team for their brilliant performance at the Games. “As a Ministry, we shall continue to fulfil the commitment of the government to each one of you in line with the approval of Mr President”. The Permanent Secretary also restated government’s commitment to the welfare of athletes, stating that no single athlete or participant representing Nigeria is being owed any benefit or allowance.
“My attention has been drawn to a report in an online medium in which an athlete appealed to the Honourable Minister to pay their entitlements. Those of you who have participated in international competitions since my coming on board in 2018 will attest to it that the ministry under my watch is not owing any athlete, rather we have gone further to support athletes on their medical needs, supported athletes with scholarships grants but having difficulty in meeting up with the front end costs. Through the Nigeria Olympic Committee and other Federations, we have secured scholarships for over 20 athletes.
“I, therefore, wish to appeal to our athletes to stop peddling untrue information on the position of government towards us”. Mr Olusade also restated that the 12th African Games will serve as a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (with few exceptions) in Athletics, Badminton, Canoe/Kayak, Cycling, Handball, Judo, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Beach Volleyball and Weightlifting.
He congratulated the gold medallists in the mentioned sports whom he said have already booked their spots at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Earlier, the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee Habu Gumel praised the athletes for their good behaviour in camp. He also reminded them of the need to win clean medals and the need to shun drugs. The Nigerian Ambassador to Morocco His Excellency Mr Baba Garba also commended the athletes for comporting themselves in a good manner.
The first batch of awards was for athletes who won laurels in Taekwondo, Table Tennis, Badminton, Gymnastics, Karate, Athletics, Basketball and Weightlifting. The next awards will be announced as the athletes conclude their events.