The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung has congratulated the official Bankers of the Nigeria Olympic Committee Union Bank Of Nigeria PLC for doling out N250,000 to each athlete participating at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Each member of #TeamNigeria and #Paralympic athletes will get the money credited to their accounts as soon as they forward their account details to the Nigeria Olympic Committee. If the athletes are unable to send their account details, the money will be credited to Visa or Master cards with the names of the athletes on it, according to NOC Secretary-General, Tunde Popoola.
Union Bank of Nigeria PLC also pledged N5million to the NOC as support for logistics and other administrative bills.
Dalung thanked Union Bank of Nigeria PLC for coming in to assist and boost the morale of the athletes at a time the country was faced with financial set backs.
He said that this single effort by Union bank will once more lift the spirit of the athletes ahead of the games which start on August 5 , 2016.
The Minister called on other private and corporate organizations to take a queue from Union bank as government alone can no longer solely fund sports.
” When we invest in our youths and sports, we are investing in the future but when we don’t help our youths through sports or other skills acquisition, we are preparing for a harvest of criminals in future so I’m pleading with other corporate bodies to come forward as it is never late to help our youths especially now that athletes are faced with so much hardship due to the state of the country’s economy” Dalung said.
According to Media Aide to the Minister, Nneka Ikem Anibeze, athletes are expected to start leaving for Rio on Friday.
The basketball team leaves on August 3, 2016 after playing a game in Houston on the 2nd of August while the football team will start moving from Atlanta on July 29th, 2016.
”Our support for Team Nigeria largely stems from our desire to boast the morale of the athletes, the government does its best to appreciate them but it is the responsibility of the private sector to encourage our athletes and make them home grown treasures. With our contribution to Team Nigeria, we hope that we are one of many others that come on board to pledge support.” said Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
In order to create an engaged community for Nigerians throughout the Olympics, the Bank also came up with Team Union, a group of Nigerian athletes set to provide a refreshing view of the international sporting event with experiences from the point of view of an athlete. The Team Union athletes will be Nigeria’s ears and eyes on ground at the Olympic Games, providing behind the scene news as a means of ensuring that the Rio 2016 games is a shining light for all Nigerians.
The 5 Team Union athletes include: Seye Ogunlewe, National 100m Champion; Divine Oduduru, National 200m Champion; Regina George, World 4x 200m Champion; Odunayo Adekuruoye, World Championship Bronze Medallist and Hannah Babalola, African Record Holder, T54 100m & 200m.
While commending Union Bank for the sponsorship, Tunde Popoola, Secretary General of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, said “We are aware of Union Bank’s long standing commitment to the development of sports in Nigeria and we greatly appreciate them for playing a lead role by sponsoring Team Nigeria. They are not only supporting our national talents but they are also setting an example for others in the private sector to follow.”