To show their happiness at the performance of Team Nigeria to the just concluded U-20 world Athletics Championship in Nairobi, Kenya, no fewer than four Nigerian Ministers were present at the reception organised for the athletes on Tuesday in Abuja.
The athletes were received at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja with the present of the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, Minister of Women Affairs Dame Pauline Tallen, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Hajia Sadiya Umar – Farouk, Minister of State for Education Chief Emeka Nwajiuba, and Special Adviser to the President on Sports Daniel Amokachi.
Newsbreak understood that the reception was organised for the athletes by the Minister of Women Affairs Dame Pauline Tallen.
Speaking at the reception, Sunday Dare assured that the Sports Ministry is rebuilding a new generation of athletes who will soon rule the world of athletics.
“These young athletes have done the country proud, they have not only made a statement of intent to rule the world , but have made it emphatically clear that we are rebuilding a new generation of athletes. These young ones are brilliant stars and the country will embrace them, support and nurture them and unleash them on the world at Paris 2024 Olympics and several other up- coming championships.
“Yesterday, Mr. President congratulated them heartily for the feat they achieved as the third best team at the championship amongst 116 countries. When you look at the history of this championship in the last 13 years, this the first time we have attained this feat.’
He further stated “The Usain Bolts of this world emerged from this championship. So we are going to keep these young ones together. We see a better future, a new trajectory for athletics in our country. We will nurture them and the future is bright for athletics in our country.”
Speaking at the event, Hajia Farouk said the athletes had made Nigeria proud, promising to key them into the programmes of her Ministry.
Nigeria’s U-20 track and field athletes re-written the history of Nigeria’s participation at the biennial World Athletics U-20 championships after finishing third on the medals table with an unprecedented haul of four gold and three bronze medals.
The highest Nigeria has ended on the medals table prior to the just-ended event in Nigeria was her seventh-place finish at the third edition of the championships in 1990 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria where they won two gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
The four gold medals won at the just ended championships in Nairobi, Kenya is the highest Nigeria has won, two more than the country has ever won in any edition of the championships.