The Federal Government has given cash rewards totaling about N46 million to the first batch of Team Nigeria medalists at the ongoing 12th African Games in Morocco.
The rewards were handed over by the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development to 58 athletes and 4 officials, with 3,000 US dollars given to gold medalists.
The ministry also gave 2,000 dollars to silver medalists and 1,500 dollars to bronze medalists.
Gold medalists in the team events got 6,000 dollars, bronze medalists got 4,500 dollars, while the badminton mixed team event players got 18,000 dollars.
Adesola Olusade, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, at a brief ceremony Tuesday night at the Games Village, commended the athletes for their good performance at the Games.
“As a ministry, we shall continue to fulfill the commitment of government to each and every one of you in line with the approval of Mr. President,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary assured Nigerian sports men and women that government would continue to give top priority to the welfare of athletes.
He said this was evident in the fact that no athlete currently participating in the Rabat Games was being denied any benefit or owed any allowance.
“My attention was drawn to a report in an online medium in which an athlete appealed to the Youth and Sports 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,” Olusade said.
He said the ministry, through the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and other Federations, have secured scholarship grants for over 20 athletes.
“I therefore want to appeal to our athletes not to engage in peddling inappropriate information on the achievements of government towards us, ” the permanent secretary said.
He reminded them that the games in Morocco would serve as a qualifying event for some sports in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Olusade said some of the events are in athletics, badminton, canoe/kayak, cycling, handball, judo, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, beach volleyball and weightlifting.
He congratulated the gold medalists in the sports which have qualified for the 2020 Olympics.
Earlier at the occasion, President of the NOC, Habu Gumel, praised the athletes for their good behaviour in camp.
Gumel reminded them of the need to win clean medals and to shun drugs.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Morocco, Baba Garba, also commended the athletes for comporting themselves well and being of good behaviour in Morocco.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the first batch of cash 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.(NAN)
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