President Muhammadu Buhari has rewarded Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume and other members of Nigeria’s contingent who won medals at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK with National Honours.
Buhari disclosed this when he received them at the State House, Abuja on Thursday.
Members of the victorious team Nigeria who were received by President Buhari include Tobi Amusan who broke the World Record in the women 100m hurdles on her way to winning the gold medal at the World Championships and Ese Brume who won silver in the women’s long jump event.
Amusan and Brume also won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, breaking the Games Records in their events as Nigeria went on to win 12 gold medals in Birmingham, a record for the country at the event.
Both athletes were rewarded with the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).
The president also showered a cash gift of N200 million on the victorious Team Nigeria.
The delegation to the Presidential Villa was led by Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare.
Buhari said his government is committed to rewarding excellence for members of Team Nigeria who ignited the spirit of victory in the nation through stellar performances at international competitions.
“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.
“Your outstanding performances in recent times are consistent with the determination of a nation always yearning for excellent performance.
“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,” he said.
The President told the athletes that their hour of sporting glory beamed the “radar of the world on Nigeria”, adding that their exploits have gone a long way in projecting the positive image of the country.
“Twelve times the world stood still as our green, 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!”
President Buhari called out the names of the gold winners and other medal winners including the world champion in the 100m hurdles, Tobiloba Amusan, Ese Brume, Blessing Oborodudu , Oluwafemiayo Folashade, Taiwo Liadi, Ikechukwu Obichukwu, Bose Omolayo, Favour Ofili, Nasiru Sule, Ifechukwude Ikpeoyi, Ebikewenimo Welson, Hannah Rueben and Elizabeth Oshoba.
Reiterating the commitment of this administration in providing the enabling environment for youths to ascend to the pinnacle of their chosen careers, the President expressed satisfaction with the impact the Adopt-An-Athlete Initiative of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports had on the performance of athletes.
He urged more private individuals and corporate organizations to support government’s investment in sports, which has been reclassified from being a recreational activity to being a business in line with modern practices worldwide.