The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has again restated the Federal Government’s resolve to reward athletes who excelled in various sports at the Olympics and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
According to press release signed by Nneka Ikem Anibeze, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Sports and made available to Sporting Tribune, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Chinyeaka Ohaa stated this when he and other top management staff of the ministry received the second batch of athletes to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
At a reception held for the athletes on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja, on Monday, the Permanent Secretary praised the athletes for ensuring that Nigeria’s flag was hoisted 12 times at the games.
Mr Ohaa promised that the athletes will be handsomely rewarded for their efforts when President Muhammadu Buhari returns to the country.
“This is one of the most astonishing performances that have brought great honor to this country. It goes to prove that beyond strength, there is also ability in disability.
“You told us that you were going to make Nigerians proud and you fulfilled your promise. It was a wonderful outing because Nigeria are leading in Africa in Paralympic Games and we are 17th in world ” .
The Permanent Secretary also commended the Presidency for enabling the athletes through training and ensuring prompt payment of all camp allowances and other financial obligations .
“We are proud of you, and we did our best by making sure that during your training, we took care of you and paid all your training allowances and we are not owing you.
“These great athletes brought honor to this country and that is why we are showcasing them today. I know that when Mr. President comes back, definitely he will honor you. That one is beyond me.
He watched you people, you made him happy and you made Nigerians happy”, Ohaa said.
The athletes jubilated as they danced to the music by the Nigeria Football and Other Sports Supporters Club.
One of the athletes, Lauretta Onye (gold medalist and current world record holder) said she was inspired to win gold for the country by her coach and her passion to bring honor to her fatherland.
“I am so excited. I am very happy and I give God the glory for what He has done. A lot of things inspired me but what inspired me the most was my training.
“I trained very hard to make it possible to get there.
“I was inspired by my coach to go there and conquer. I was inspired by my country to go there and win,” Onye said.
The second batch comprised para-athletics and para-table tennis athletes.
Nigeria won 8 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals at the just concluded games.