The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports on Wednesday held a reception for two Nigerian victorious teams – the Para Powerlifting team which won four gold medals and set two world records at the 9th Fazza Para Powerlifting World Cup in Dubai UAE and the Badminton team which won three Silver and two bronze medals to finish second at the All African Individual Badminton Championship in Algeria.
At a brief occasion held at the VIP Lounge of the Abuja National Stadium, Solomon Dalung, the Minister of Youth and Sports thanked the athletes for working so hard to raise the country’s flag amongst other countries.
The Minister who represented President Muhammadu Buhari also extolled the successes recorded especially by the Para Powerlifting team.
“We sincerely congratulate you for a remarkable performance of not only making Nigeria proud but also making a statement that Nigeria is a country that other countries should watch out for in the years ahead, in terms of sports.
“Your performances in Dubai and Algeria are not far-fetched from the difficulties and challenges you faced before and during the competition.
“You did not let those challenges deter you, rather you took advantage of it and headed towards victory. I am proud of you and I congratulate you.
“On behalf of the President of the country President Muhammadu Buhari who I briefed about this occasion but had to travel out due to other state matters, he mandated me to receive you on behalf of the government and the people of Nigeria.
“As a government, we will continue to support and assist you as you progress in your various fields of endeavour in sports.
“The Para Powerlifting Federation has contributed so much to the development of the country’s image. On so many occasions, you had made the country proud.
“You set African records at the last Olympics and now you’re coming home with World records. We will continue to support the development of Para sports in Nigeria and other sports in the country.”
Earlier the captain of the badminton team, Joseph Enejoh Abah thanked the Federal Government for the platform given to the players to compete and called on government to extend the training period ahead of future competitions to enable them to prepare adequately.
“We had only three weeks to train. We could have done better if we trained longer. We want the Ministry to help us with more training periods.”
Two world records were set by Kehinde Paul in the 65kg category where he lifted 221kg to erase his previous Olympic record of 220.5kg. Folashade Oluwafemi also set a new record of 146kg in the 86kg class.