By Amaechi Agbo
No fewer than 3, 400 nominations were made during the selection of the 2020 60 sports icons awardees by the federal government.
The minister of youth and sports development, Sunday Dare disclosed this in an interview during the unveiling of the 60 sports icons in the country on Friday.
The unveiling which witnessed a low turnout of the awardees it was gathered had 3, 400 nominees who were selected among the provisional list before it was pruned down to 60.
The minister first and foremost explained why the awards were necessary
“Well, Nigeria is celebrating her 60th independence anniversary which is a landmark event and we felt that it is also a perfect time to honour some of our heroes and heroines in the sports arena.
“We decided that we should pick 60 sports icons in the country. But you should also know that this country has produced in the hundreds, a lot of athletes who have done this country proud and won medals for the country,” Dare said
Explaining the criteria with which the 60 were selected, the minister said “We asked for nominations from various platforms and we partnered with several media organisations including SWAN, people voted.
“Over 3, 400 nominations were made. A committee was set up that had people who are diverse and knowledgeable about sports and they did the painstaking task of selecting the 60 out of the 3, 400.
“You will agree with me that was a tough job they did and they did their work independently.”
The minister added that there were no bad feelings among those who did not make the list adding the effort is in the plans to continue to recognise Nigerian sportsmen and women who have excelled in the sporting careers.
“Well I let them (the committee) do their work independently and truth is that not until this morning (Friday), a few hours to the event that I actually became privy to the list of those that made the list.
“I did not really bother because we trusted them to do a good job and I think they did a good job.”