By Amaechi Agbo
The Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development Mr. Sunday Dare has charged federations to commence preparation for the Olympic Games coming up in 2020 in Tokyo Japan in earnest.
The minister gave the charge in his office Tuesday during a courtesy visit by the President and Board Members of the Nigerian Badminton Federation, NBF, delegation.
The minister who has been holding various meetings with federations in the country with a view to repositioning sports in the country ahead the implementation of his new vision in the ministry, assured the Federation that the Ministry will create an Athlete Funds Grant for athletes, stressing that athletes should be constantly trained to enable them compete with their counterparts in the world.
Dare assured that the Lottery Trust Fund will be open for preparation towards Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He appreciated the Nigerian Badminton Federation in Abuja for making Nigeria proud in winning medals at the African Games in Morocco.
Mr. Dare said he will work with the Nigeria Badminton Federation, NBF to ensure that all athletes and their coaches are constantly trained to prepare them for the 2020 Olympics.
In a release signed by the Principal Information Officer of the ministry, Patricia Okaja Nnandi it noted that the minister expressed satisfaction with the recently concluded 5th Edition of the National Youth Games, NYG in Ilorin, adding that he was impressed with a twelve year old boy playing Badminton with so much passion, “there is need for Government to start catching them young, to prepare them for future performance he admonished,’’ he said.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Olusade Adesola expressed satisfaction with the medals won by the BFN, which he said grew from grass to grace.
Mr. Adesola commended their efforts and praised them for their bond which has kept them together without rancour which is the secret of their success.
In his response, President Nigerian Badminton Federation, Mr. Francis Orbih thanked the Honourable Minister for the audience granted them. He intimated the Minister of the achievements of the federation so far, noting that when they came on board the Badminton players had no competitions but with much trainings, many have competed especially in the 4th Edition National Badminton Championship this year, the biggest Badminton event in Nigeria which hosted 16 countries from the first edition, and in the last edition had twenty nine countries in attendance.
Mr. Orbih said Nigeria hosted the National Badminton Championship in Port Harcourt this year 2019 and 4 gold medals, 4 silver and 4 bronze were won, adding that it was amazing at the rebirth of Badminton in Nigeria, he said.
He commended the Ministry for the support they got during the 12th African Games in Morocco, where they had two gold medals, three silver and three bronze. In order to keep the pace, he recommended that players be sent for trainings abroad so that they can march with their counterparts all over the world.