Sports

Naira rain in Bayelsa as Gov. Diri rewards athletes, coaches

By Chris Ezeonoh

Bayelsa sportsmen and women who won laurels for the state in different sports competitions on Wednesday smiled home with huge cash rewards, courtesy of the state government.

At a formal reception organized for them in Yenagoa, Governor Douye Diri said they made Nigeria and the state proud, adding that people of Bayelsa can hold their heads high because of the sterling performances of the sportsmen and women and urged them to continue on the path of success.

Olympic silver medalist, who won gold in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games, Blessing Oborududu, and sprinter Timma Godbless, who got gold in 4×100 relay for Nigeria in the African Senior Athletics Championship in Mauritius were among recipients of the governor’s gesture.

Others were teenage table tennis sensation, Samuel Boboye, who won two gold medals for Nigeria in the Africa U-19 championship in Tunisia as well as Bayelsa Queens, champions of the African Female Champions League WAFU Zone B tournament in Yamoussoukro, .Côte d’Ivoire.

Governor Diri noted that by their performance, they have placed Bayelsa prominently on the global map of sports, saying the state will reap rich rewards from their effort if they aim for more success.

Diri assured that his administration will continue to play its part in supporting sportsmen and women to enable them bring more glory to the state.

The state’s helmsman assured Bayelsa Queens that his government will do everything to ensure the team had a hitch-free participation in the Africa Female Champions League holding Morocco.

He announced a reward of N2.5m for Commonwealth Games gold medalists, N1.5m for silver medalists while bronze medalists got N1m.

Similarly, coaches of gold-winning athletes got N2m each while their silver and bronze medal counterparts received N1m and N800,000 respectively.

Non-medal participants at the games also got N300,000 each.

African Athletics Championship gold medalist, Godbless, got N700,000 while Boboye received N500,000.

The governor also motivated Bayelsa Queens with N10m in addition to $1,000 each for the players and $3,000 for the three goals the team scored in a particular game.

His words: “We are indeed very proud of you. You went out representing not only our state but also Nigeria. You left no one in doubt that you were truly representing Nigeria.

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“The people of Bayelsa are holding their heads high because of your sterling performances. Continue on that path. Success is difficult to sustain. People are already planning to overthrow you.

“We followed you, particularly Bayelsa Queens. I spoke with you and made promises, which I have now redeemed. You have done us proud.

“Your state government will make every necessary arrangement for your travel and sustenance. Go to Morocco and conquer. If you deliver, my pronouncement will be more than what I have done today.

“For our commonwealth medalists, we thank you for making Bayelsa and Nigeria proud. We will continue to encourage you in the best way we can. That is the only way you can return to impact value on your state.”

Earlier, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Daniel Igali, thanked the governor for his support for the development of sports in the state, saying it is largely responsible for the successes Bayelsa has had in recent times.

He said winning has become a culture in the state due to the level of motivation from the government and assured that athletes will continue to do their best to make the state proud

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