The Ministry of Youth and Sports on Wednesday in Rabat gave cash rewards of N46 million to the first batch of medallists at the ongoing African Games in Morocco.
The 58 athletes and 4 officials got cash awards ranging from 3,000 dollars for gold, 2,000 dollars for silver and 1,500 dollars for bronze medallists.
Gold medallists in team events got 6,000 dollars and bronze got 4,500 dollars, while the Badminton mixed team players shared 18,000 dollars as winning bonus.
Adesola Olusade, the Permanent Secretary of the sports ministry, at brief ceremony on Tuesday at the Games Village, commended the athletes for good performance at the Games.
“As a ministry, we shall continue to fulfill the commitment of government to each and every one of you in line with the approval of Mr President,’’ he said.
The permanent secretary said that government has given top priority to the welfare of athletes, adding that no athlete participating in the Games was owed any benefit and allowance.
“My attention was drawn to a report in an online medium in which an athlete appealed to the Minister of Sports and Youth Development to pay their entitlements.
“Those of you who have participated in international competitions since my coming on board in 2018 will attest to it that the ministry under my watch is not owing any athlete.
“Rather we have gone further to support athletes on their medical needs, supported athletes with scholarships grants but having difficulty in meeting up with the front end costs,’’ Olusade said
He said the ministry through the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and other federations, has secured scholarships for over 20 athletes.
“I therefore, want to appeal to our athletes not to engage in peddling inappropriate information on the achievements of government towards us,’’ the permanent secretary said.
He said that the Games in Morocco would serve as a qualifying event for some sports in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Olusade said that some athletes had qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Athletics, Badminton, Canoe/Kayak, Cycling, Handball, Judo, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Beach Volleyball and Weightlifting.
Olusade congratulated the gold medallists in the sports that had qualified for the 2020 Olympics.
Earlier, the President of NOC, Habu Gumel, praised the athletes for their good behaviour in camp.
Gumel reminded them of the need to win clean medals and to shun drugs.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Morocco, Baba Garba, also commended the athletes for comporting themselves well and for good behaviour in Morocco.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the first batch of cash rewards was for athletes who won laurels in Taekwondo, Table Tennis, Badminton, Gymnastics, Karate, Athletics, Basketball and Weightlifting.
The next rewards will be announced as the athletes conclude their events.