Nigeria’s gold medallist, Tobi Amusan, and other athletes were on Thursday honoured by President Muhammadu Buhari for their spectacular performances at several international competitions.
The ceremony presided over by Buhari saw the Commander-in-Chief splash N200 million for Team Nigeria contingents to the 2022 Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championships and confer national honours on them.
While addressing the athletes at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja, Buhari said his administration is committed to rewarding excellence, no less for members of Team Nigeria who ignited the spirit of victory in the nation through stellar performances at international competitions.
“Your outstanding performances in recent times are consistent with the determination of a nation always yearning for excellent performance,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina.
He described the athletes as champions, worthy ambassadors, national heroes, and heroines, heaping praises on them for proudly flying the Nigerian flag in nine sporting events.
“I watched with millions of Nigerians those exciting moments when you all brought smiles to us and our homes by breaking world, national, and games records, as well as achieving personal best in your careers.
“You all, members of Team Nigeria, have ignited the spirit for victory in our nation but even more you have been victorious in major sporting championships and games.
“I have followed keenly your achievements at the World Championships in Oregon, USA, and indeed your remarkable performance at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
“And I am very pleased that you displayed at both the personal and group levels great sporting talents and delivered for your country great podium performances.”
Buhari noted that the athletes’ hour of sporting glory beamed the “radar of the world on Nigeria”, maintaining that their exploits have gone a long way in projecting the positive image of the country.
He added, “Twelve times the world stood still as our green, the white-green national flag was hoisted and the National Anthem recited. Thirty-five times we made it to the podium. You all Team Nigeria made that possible.
“You brought glory and honour to our country. And today, on behalf of the nation- I say, Thank You!”