… as Birmingham Games end
Ebenezer Bajela and Stephen Angbulu, Abuja
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Monday, urged the sports ministry and all of its stakeholders to prepare early and assiduously to beat the current performance of Team Nigeria at the 2022 Commonwealth Games at Birmingham, United Kingdom.
The 11-day Commonwealth Games in Birmingham ended on Monday with World and Commonwealth gold medallist Tobi Amusan Team Nigeria’s flag bearer at the closing ceremony.
Team Nigeria achieved their best performance ever in Birmingham since it started taking part in the Commonwealth Games in 1950, winning 12 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze medals, a total of 35 medals, that see them sit seventh on the medals table.
Buhari also congratulated the ministry, led by Sunday Dare, sports federations and associations nationwide on the spectacular performance of Team Nigeria, who finished seventh on the medals table with 12 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said he looked forward to a rousing welcome of the team on their return.
The statement is titled ‘Build on the success of Commonwealth Games, President Buhari urges sports ministry, stakeholders.’
“The President expresses delight at several reports of peaceful atmosphere, unity and camaraderie in the camp throughout the Games, which reflected positively in the psyche of the athletes, contributing to the harvest of medals for Team Nigeria.
“President Buhari urges the officials to work with all relevant stakeholders to build on the success of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, begin early and earnest preparations to surpass this spectacular achievement in upcoming competitions.
“President Buhari looks forward to a rousing reception from Nigerians for members of Team Nigeria Birmingham 2022,” the statement read.
He also assured stakeholders that youth and sports development would remain a priority of his administration.
Meanwhile, Sunday Dare has assured members of the historic contingent to the 2022 Commonwealth Games of a presidential reception.
Speaking with the athletes on Monday, Dare praised the team for bringing the country into global focus for positive reasons.
He said, “I followed every moment of your competition. I was in Birmingham from the beginning till I had to leave for other official engagements. So many Nigerians followed you too. We are all so proud of what you achieved for Nigeria and yourselves.
“Mr President is also very proud of you and has approved that a presidential reception be held to honour you for the historic feat at Birmingham 2022.
“We will immediately start to plan for the reception and once we have tightened things up, we will announce the date, invite you over from your different bases and you will have that privilege of meeting Mr President.
“Nigeria will appreciate you for the great acts of sacrifice, patriotism and determination to excel that you all have demonstrated here, whether you have a medal around your neck or not.”
Meanwhile, the Group Chief Executive of Oando Plc, Wale Tinubu, announced that his company would give cash rewards to all Team Nigeria medallists at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Tinubu said his company would match whatever cash reward was already in place for the athletes by the sports ministry.
This implies that gold medal winners will get another $5,000, silver medal winners, $3,000 and bronze medal winners, $2,500 from the energy solution providers.
Meanwhile, Australia ended the event as champions with 178 medals, 67 gold, 57 silver and 54 bronze medals. England finished second with 57 gold, 66 silver and 53 bronze with Canada occupying the third position with a total of 92 medals.
India, New Zealand and Scotland sit in the fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively.
Wales, South Africa and Malaysia complete the top 10.