The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports has rewarded the first batch of medalists at the ongoing African Games in Morocco to the tune of N46 million.
58 athletes and four officials got cash awards ranging from $3,000 for gold, $2,000 for silver and $1,500 for bronze medalists.
Gold medalists in team events got $6,000, Bronze got $4,500 while the Badminton mixed team players shared $18,000.
At a brief ceremony on Tuesday at the Games Village, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Olusade Adesola, thanked Team Nigeria for the brilliant performance at the Games so far.
“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”.
The Permanent Secretary also restated government’s commitment to the welfare of athletes stating that no single athlete or participant representing Nigeria is being owed any benefits or allowances.
“My attention was drawn to a report in an online medium in which an athlete appealed to the Honourable 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.
“Through the Nigeria Olympic Committee and other federations, we have secured scholarships 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,” he pleaded.
Olusade also restated that the 12th African Games will serve as a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (with few exceptions) in Athletics, Badminton, Canoe/Kayak, Cycling, Handball, Judo, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Beach Volleyball and Weightlifting.
He congratulated the gold medalists in the mentioned sports who he said have already booked their spots at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Earlier, the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee Habu Gumel praised the athletes for their good behaviour in camp.
He also reminded them of the need to win clean medals and the need to shun drugs.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Morocco, Mr. Baba Garba also commended the athletes for comporting themselves in a good manner.
The first batch of 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.