Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday hailed vibrant and agile gymnasts from TIG International Gymnastics Club, Abuja, a private sporting club, who paid him a visit, saying the future of the sport in Nigeria was bright, following the gymnasts displays, which fascinated the country’s No.2 man
The gymnastics club – owned by coach Anthony Asuquo – is blazing the trail, nurturing young talents and featuring them in several competitions already.
In a statement dated Sept 27 and signed by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Osinbajo expressed delight at the conduct of the gymnasts, their coaches and parents, saying he was just becoming aware of the abundance of talents in the sport in Nigeria.
“This for me is very heart-warming, intriguing and exciting because there is really great hope for gymnastics in Nigeria, especially people who are starting so very young. I want to commend TIG International Gymnastics Club, and of course, coach Anthony Asuquo and other coaches and even the parents. I think you are pioneers of some sort in encouraging your children to become gymnasts,” Osinbajo stated.
The VP added, “I am greatly encouraged by what we are seeing, especially that so many of the kids are winning medals and doing well in gymnastics. I see a lot of the athletics categories and how well people are doing, but I think that we really have some great potential, and just seeing the video, it is evident that there is a lot of promise and talent that is available here in Nigeria. What we are seeing here is what Nigeria truly is, a country filled with incredible talents and there are also incredible opportunities.”
Multiple gold medal-winning gymnasts – Stephanie Onusiriuka and Tomisin Babatunde – and spokesperson of the club, Dolapo Adedeji, spoke about their experiences as international athletes, winning laurels for Nigeria.
Eight-year-old Adedeji, who spoke on behalf of the young gymnasts, was full of praises for the Vice President, especially for finding time to meet the team and “for all the good things you are doing for our country to make it a better place.”
She spoke about the challenges faced by athletes and officials, especially in the area of facilities, and sought the support of the government and well-meaning Nigerians. She also assured the Vice President that athletes at the club would continue to work harder to make their parents, the club and the country proud at both national and international competitions.
Prof. Osinbajo then thanked the two gymnasts, Adedeji and Babatunde “for the very kind words, it is very nice to say that we have done very well.”
Earlier, coach Asuquo informed the VP that the club, founded 11 years ago, had trained 3,000 athletes, nurtured gymnastics coaches and represented the country at international competitions.
He solicited support, especially in the provision of training facilities, and sponsorship of athletes and officials to national and international gymnastics competitions.