Flash back... Nigeria's quartet, celebrating their silver medal wining feat at Sydney 2000 Games
By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Apart from the late Sunday Bada, all the other five quarter milers who made the country proud, winning the 4x400m Sydney Olympic gold medal arrived Abuja Tuesday evening to physically be honoured by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa Wednesday morning.
Bada’s widow, Olasumbo, who also arrived the Federal Capital City to represent her husband, was quartered along with United States of America-based Jude Monye, Clement Chukwu and Nduka Awazie and Fidelis Gadzama who lives in the United Kingdom at the Nicon Luxury Hotel.
The only member of the team who lives in Lagos, Enefiok Udo-Obong, Tuesday reunited with his Sydney 2000 Olympic colleagues for the first time, almost 13 years after he anchored Nigeria to the silver that eventually turned gold following the disqualification of Team USA quartet for dope infringement.
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), and the National Sports Commission (NSC), facilitated the coming of the Olympic heroes to Nigeria to meet with President Jonathan.
Presidency sources told THISDAY Tuesday night that the meeting with the president will take place before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting at 9am.
A former Captain of Team Nigeria, Mary Omagbemi-Onyali, told THISDAY Tuesday that she was very impressed with the decision to host the team 13 years after they brought honour to Nigeria.
“This is very commendable of President Goodluck Jonathan. His decision to meet and honour the Sydney gold medallists has given hope to other sports that it is not only footballers that have the exclusive eyes and ears of those in authority. This singular honour will motivate other sports to also want to win glories for Nigeria,” observed the African 200m record holder recently appointed as special assistant to the DG of the NSC.
She was however sad that Bada, who died on December 12, 2011, was not physically present to receive his honour from the president. Bada captained Team Nigeria to the Sydney Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the gold to Nigeria that won the silver medal, following the disqualification of USA as a result of the dope infraction of Antonio Pettigrew.
After years of delay, the IOC eventually forwarded the gold medals to the Nigerian Olympic Committee for onward presentation to the winners.