The minister of youth and sports development, Mr Sunday Dare, has applauded Nigeria’s only decorated male gymnast, Uche Eke, for emerging the first ever gymnast from the West Africa region to qualify for the Olympic Games.
The minister who received the 23-year-old US based gymnast in his office on Monday, said the athlete for winning gold at the just African Championships in Cairo, Egypt with a record performance has brightened Team Nigeria’s journey to Tokyo Olympic Games.
Dare assured the 2021 Margaret Mann awardee, who graduated from University of Michigan with a 4.0 GPA, that the Ministry will give all the necessary support by taking over his preparations for Tokyo 2020 Games.
“Nigeria Sports Development is on a new trajectory driven powerfully by individual athletes with excellent performances and no person better symbolizes or sign-posts the future of our sports development than this young 23- year old youth, Uche Eke.
“Watching his documentary on BBC and CNN over and over, I knew this determination came from his heart. I then realised that if most of our youth can immerse their successes within Nigerian just like Eke, who said he loves the Nigerian flag, then his highest form of patriotism should resonate with all,” Dare said. “When it comes to sports, what drives excellence is the spirit of patriotism that makes you want to excel for your country.”
“I want to congratulate you first because you have brought to form the nexus between education and sports which is what America and Europe preaches, graduating with a first class from University of Michigan while also excelling in gymnastics.
“Two years ago you won Nigeria our first ever Gymnastics Gold Medal at the 2019 All African Games in Morocco and now the first gymnast from the West African region to qualify for the Olympics. This shows your discipline, consistency, dedication and determination which has brightened our journey to the Olympics. We are proud of every young one who is putting our nation on the world map in sports.”
The minister described youth as the greatest assets of the country, saying the government is committed to investing in their future.
“The Youth remain one of the greatest resources that this Country has, hence there’s absolute focus of investing in their lives in whatever field they find themselves in. This has been the business and the Mandate of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development,” he said.
Uche Eke who was accompanied by his father Daniel Eke and chairman Caretaker Committee of Nigeria Gymnastic Federation, Prince Kelvin Ehrunmuwse, thanked the Minister for his support, while assuring that he will remain focused.
“Each time I go out there to compete, seeing the President of the Gymnastic Federation of Nigeria, I feel the whole of Nigeria is with me. I appreciate the Minister for all he is doing for the Nigerian youth and sports development. I pledge my commitment to remain focused at the Olympics and I’m going to make Nigerians proud.”