BY Femi Atolagbe
The Governor of Nasarawa State, Mr. Abdullahi Sule, yesterday, received the State’s victorious athletes and their coaches who participated at the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival held in Benin City, Edo State in April this year.
The Governor congratulated the athletes who won various medals at the long sports fiesta and urged them to sustain the spirit, going forward.
“Despite meagre resources and inadequate equipment or non completely, you still excelled at the event, bringing fame to the State.
“Let me thank the entire Team Nasarawa contingent, both those who won and didn’t win medals, for the great showing in the face of all odds. This is a huge achievement.”
The Governor assured that his administration would do everything possible to address some of the major challenges of the athletes and sports generally in the State for optimum performance in subsequent events.
He gave N1million to each gold medalists, N750,000 of the silver medalists N500,000 to bronze medalists, while coaches of the medalist athletes received the sum of N2million.
For refusing to relinquish his medal to his opponent, the Governor personally rewarded gold medalist wrestler, Tularam Mamman, with the sum of one thousand dollar, saying his integrity won his heart.
The Governor rewarded the driver who escaped with the lives of the athletes and the Civil Defence escort Officer who shot and killed one of the robbers that attacked the contingent’s bus along Akeleku village, near Lafia, on their way back from Edo State, with the sum of five hundred dollar.
Speaking earlier, Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development Othman Bala Adam, disclosed that the State’s contingent won a total of 22 medals which include five Gold, four Silver and 13 Bronze medals in Karate, Kung-Fu Wushu, Para Athletics, Judo, Taekwondo, Scrabble, Dart, Wrestling, Boxing, Trado-Sports, and Marathon Race.
He said Team Nasarawa emerged 18th overall best among the 36 States of the Federation and F.C.T. Abuja, at the end of the event, and 5th best among the nineteen northern states, including the F.C.T., Abuja, a performance he described as the best by the State in more than a decade.
The Commissioner thanked the Governor for keeping to his promise to make the State the home of sports development in the country even as he appreciated his uncommon love for sports development in the State.
Othman Bala added that the deposition of the Governor towards youth and sports had helped brought stability among young persons and entrenched peaceful co-existence amongst the youth community while providing jobs and checkmating social vices in the society.
The Commissioner, however, used the platform to draw the attention of the Governor on the urgent need to retrain the State’s coaches, procure modern sporting equipment and upgrade existing ones to meet international standards.