ports is one thing that keeps Nigerians together irrespective of tribe and religion. For years football has been the number one sport in Nigeria.
Sadly, football has taken a back seat in recent years as the football teams at all grades failed to perform or qualify for major competitions such as the Olympics and World Cup.
However, our athletes in the last year have put smiles back on our faces. Tayo Amusan is arguably the face of Nigerian sports presently. She is the current African, Commonwealth, and World Champion in the 100m hurdles as well as the record holder in the three competitions. She broke the world record by winning the first ever Gold medal at the World Athletics Championship Women’s 100m Hurdles in Oregon.
Another athlete Ese Brume is the current commonwealth champion and a three-time African senior champion in the Long Jump and holds a personal best of 7.17 m She currently holds the commonwealth games record.
Against all odds, our athletes were the star of the show at the World Athletics Champions held in Eugene, Oregon in the USA from July 15, 2022, to July 24, 2022, and the Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham, United Kingdom, from July 28 to August 8, 2022.
At the end of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on, August 7, Team Nigeria amassed 12 gold, nine silver, and 14 bronze medals, bringing the numbers to a total of 35 medals. It was a record-smashing outing for Team Nigeria at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Consequently, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja approved 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 in a statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina said his Government is 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.
Congratulating all the awardees and recipients, he expressed confidence that this will spur them to greater heights.
The President who described the athletes as champions, worthy ambassadors, national heroes, and heroines, heaped praises on 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 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.
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.
‘’Twelve times the world stood still as our green, white green national flag was hoisted and the National Anthem recited. Thirty-five times we made it to the podium. You all Team Nigeria made that possible.
‘’You brought glory and honour to our country. And today, on behalf of the nation- I say, THANK YOU!’’
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 to 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 organizations to support the government’s investment in sports, which has been reclassified from being a recreational activity to a business in line with modern practices worldwide.
President Buhari also acknowledged the many giant strides witnessed in the sports sector under the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, and his team, commending the numerous and sustained successes recorded in the last few years.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development described 2022 as an outstanding year in the history of Nigerian sports, which shall not be forgotten in a hurry.
According to him, it is a year where many Sporting Federations have surpassed and are surpassing their previous performances, while many athletic records were broken.
Highlighting the most remarkable feats, Dare said in track and field, Amusan in 4 months won Nigeria’s first-ever gold medal in World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, the USA with a world record performance in an event highly dominated by the Americans and Europeans.