Late Sunday Bada and five other silver medalists at the Sydney Olympic Games were on Wednesday honoured by President Goodluck Jonathan, 13 years after the world’s biggest sports fiesta.
President Jonathan announced cash gifts of N5million for each of the athletes that participated in the 4×400 relay while their handlers, Innocent Egbunike and Solomon Abari will receive N7 million each.
The brief ceremony was held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.The beneficiaries are Clement Chukwu, Jude Monye, Fidelis Gadzama, Aniefiok Udobong and Nduka Nwanze and lateSunday Bada, whose wife was in tears throughout the ceremony.
President Jonathan also promised to give them national honours in due course. The athletes had won Silver medals at the Sydney Games but was recently upgraded to Gold medal by the International Olympics Committee following the stripping the United States team after failing doping test.
Speaking, President Goodluck Jonathan frowned at cheating in all its ramifications “whether in sports, or in academics, in business or in politics”.
He said, “Be informed that malpractice in any form is evil to society. We must build a society that puts premium on integrity and transparency and hardwork.
“If we do things the right and honest way, truth will always prevail, no matter how long it takes. This is part of the transformation of values that we seek to bring about and inculcate in your people today.
“What your experience has shown is that or sports men and women must endeavour to operate and compete within the rules of the game. They must resist any temptation to take a short cut to fame, adulation and wealth,” he said.
While expressing delight that justice had been done at last, President Jonathan commended the International Athletics Committee for holding the tenets of a drug “free sports and it’s continuous efforts to provide a level playing field for all competitors.
We all know that without their persistence and insistence on a drug free regime for sports competition this celebration we are witnessing today wouldn’t have been possible”.
The Minister of sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi said following the upgrading, Nigeria has now moved up from position 55 to 41 on the medal table in the 2000 Olympic games with one gold, two and two silver medals.
He thanked the former Minister of Sport and now chairman of the Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC), Sani Ndanusaand for putting in efforts to follow this to a logical conclusion.
“Nigeria’s overall performance at the Olympic games therefore now stands at three gold medals , eight silver and twelve bronze medals to place 68 on the overall medal table.
“We are optimistic that with the unprecedented commitment that your Excellency has demonstrated and the various initiatives that we are currently undertaking with Mr. President’s guidance, Nigeria will soon be ranked amongst the very best in the world,” the Minister said.