Sports Minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr Tammy Danagogo, at the weekend re-assured Team Nigeria athletes and officials to the just ended Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will host them for doing the country proud.
Out of the 71 countries that participated at the Glasgow 2014, Nigeria finished 8th on the medals table with 11 gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze medals as against the 11 gold, 10 silver and 14 bronze medals at the Delhi Games in India four years ago.
"You have represented our country and Africa well and I am very positive that President Goodluck Jonathan, will be well pleased to receive the athletes with more rewards and honour for all the medalists.
"We have paid the athletes their allowances and winning bonuses but that is not all. That is only from the point of the sports ministry. It is common knowledge that Mr. President loves sports and has established a tradition of rewarding and honouring athletes that bring glory to Nigeria. Not only for the Commonwealth medalists.
"As a matter of fact, Mr. President has asked after the handball team and other national teams that won laurels in various major international competitions during the year," observed Danagogo.
Meanwhile, the Director General of the NSC, Honourable Gbenga Elegbeleye, has assured sports loving Nigerians that Team Nigeria would win gold medals at the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil following the impressive performances of Nigerian athletes at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
"With the heart-warming performances of our athletes in the just concluded Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, I make bold to say we are good to go as regards the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. We have mapped out a solid programme that would help the athletes that have performed creditably to not only keep their form but to even achieve better outings at the 2016 Olympics.
"The Commonwealth Games is mini-Olympic Games because every important athlete around the world belongs to the Commonwealth nations besides the Americas. This year's Games attracted lots of world-rated athletes like Usain Bolt and the rest. So you can understand how tough the Games was," he disclosed.
The NSC boss however spoke of his regrets as regards the competition. "The big regret I would say we had in the competition which to me was better in performance and results than the previous one held in Delhi, India was the doping case of Chika Amalaha who tested positive to a banned drug. It was a very sad incident.
"Also we lost the chance to win a medal in the women's 4x 100m relay as a result of poor exchange of baton. This area is key and we are going to work very hard to rectify this and ensure it is not repeated in the 2016 Olympics.
Besides that I think we have done very well and we have improved tremendously on our last outing. "In Glasgow, Blessing Okagbare broke the Commonwealth Games while power lifters even bettered world records. So it was a huge achievement for Team Nigeria in Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games," Elegbeleye said with pride.