Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday hosted Blessing Okagbare, Nigeria’s double silver medallist at last month’s IAAF World Championships held in Moscow, Russia, and her developmental coach Daniel Dan Etsebiminor at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
President Jonathan made a cash reward of 3 million naira (about US$20,000) to Okagbare for her heroic performance in Moscow, where she single-handedly put Nigeria on the medal table with two silver medals in the women’s long jump and the 200m. She also finished sixth in the 100m.
Etsebiminor, who discovered and nurtured the athlete in Delta-State, also received a cash reward of 3.5 million naira (about US$23,000) for his contribution to her success and development.
The President, who was presented with the medals won by Okagbare, said both of them will be awarded national honours at the appropriate time and charged the ministries of Sports and Finance to give adequate support to sporting activities to enable the country achieve outstanding performance at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“Nigeria has been known as a sporting nation, but sometimes we slide back. But we are lucky that we are building up today,” said the President.
“To show appreciation, I believe the Secretary of the Government of the Federation will note when we give national honours, we will consider Blessing and the coach and by that time we will also decorate you.”
“But today is a day that we are all celebrating this young lady, Blessing Okagbare. we are celebrating success, we are celebrating education, we are celebrating patriotism. This is to formally congratulate Blessing Okagbare and other young men and women like her who have been working very hard to make this country proud.
“I believe that with a young lady like Blessing Okagbare, Nigeria will get back to where it belongs and even go further. We have taken a decision that in the next Olympics, we must get medals, gold medals.
“The immediate-past Olympics that we could not get any medal, except at the Paralympics that we are able to shine, was a bad story.”
“I have challenged the Minister of Sports and of course, the Finance Ministry to do all what they can to make sure that we support that sector so that our young men and women will do our country proud,” he added.
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