By Joy Odor
Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has vowed to uplift standards of sports in the state, even as he rewarded Team Nasarawa with various cash awards, for their exploits during the just concluded 20th edition of the National Sports Festival, in Benin City, Edo State.
Engineer Sule who couldn’t hide his excitement on the exploits of the state’s athletes and coaches at the event, showered the athletes with monetary gifts, at a ceremony that held at the Government House, on Monday.
During the special reception organized in honour of the contingent, the governor congratulated Team Nasarawa athletes who won various medals at the two-week long sports fiesta, urging them to sustain the spirit, going forward.
“Let me sincerely congratulate you for your wonderful performance at the Sports Festival.
“Despite meagre resources and inadequate equipment or none 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.
Announcing reward packages for the victorious athletes, Engineer Sule gave one million naira to each of the gold medalists, seven hundred and fifty thousand naira to each of the silver medalists and five hundred thousand naira to each of the bronze medalists, while coaches of the medalist athletes received the sum of two million naira.
One of the gold medalists, Tularam Mamman, who did himself and the state proud by refusing monetary advances to compromise the gold medal he won at the event, went home with additional 1000 USD, personally donated by the governor who expressed delight over the manifest integrity of the athlete.
Furthermore, Engineer Sule personally rewarded the driver of the vehicle conveying the contingents back from Edo State, who escaped with the lives of the athletes, as well as the Civil Defence officer escorting the team, who shot and killed one of the robbers that attacked the contingent’s bus along Akeleku village, near Lafia, with the sum of 500 USD.
Speaking earlier, Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Hon. Othman Bala Adam, who led the delegation to the Government House, disclosed that the state’s contingent won a total of twenty-two medals which include five gold, four silver and thirteen 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.
The occasion was attended by the deputy governor, Dr. Emmanuel Agbadu Akabe, special advisers to the governor on youth and sports development, as well as that of special duties, Hon. Kwanta Yakubu and Hon. Murtala Lamus and other top-government functionaries.