National honours award: Mixed feelings as President Jonathan honours athletes

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ABUJA – Adesanmi Oluwatoyin, Nigeria’s weightlifting gold medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland said on Monday that he was elated to be honoured by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Oluwatoyin was among Nigerian athletes who received the 2014 National Honour Award on Monday from the president at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

Oluwatoyin, who won gold at the Games in the 63 kg told NAN in an interview that the award would motivate her to win more gold medals for the country at international competitions.

“I feel honoured with the award and this is a license for me to win more gold, especially now that the World Championship scheduled for Korea, is fast approaching,’’ she said.

The athletes however, expressed disappointment that there was no cash backing to the award.

Oluwatoyin pointed out that she spent her personal money on transport and accommodation to be able to partake in the event.

Edith Ogoke-Agu, a Nigerian female boxer who won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games expressed disappointment over the award, noting that all the medalists should have been honoured.

Ogoke-Agu said that narrowing the award down to the gold medalists might likely discourage the athletes who won silver and bronze at the Games.

“I got bronze at the Games but I wonder why we were not honoured; honestly I am disappointed.

“Usually, when you want to reward athletes for outstanding performance in any competition, you reward the first, second and third or the gold, silver and bronze winners, as the case may be.

“I wonder why it’s different this time; sometimes, we are not encouraged for what we are doing.

“For instance, I sustained injury at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and nobody has asked me how I am getting on; I’ve been using my money to threat myself.

“It’s not the best,’’ Ogoke-Agu said.

The Nigerian female pugilist said she would not allow the development affect her preparation for the World Championship scheduled to take place in Korea in November. [eap_ad_1] President Jonathan congratulated the awardees, noting that what the award bestowed on them was additional responsibility to continue to demonstrate the strength of character that brought them to the hall of fame.

“Your lifestyle must be exemplary and reflect that of a truly honourable man or woman who at all times projects the noblest of virtues.

“To all our country men and women, my challenge to you is to strive to do the best in whatever endeavour you are in, that would recommend you for the recognition of your nation.

“It really does not matter what you do,’’ President Jonathan said.

2014 Commonwealth Games double gold medalist, Blessing Okagbare and her compatriots who won gold at the Games were honoured by the President.

Members of the victorious Golden Eaglets team who won the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirate as well as few of the Women Under-20 team and their coaches were also honoured. (NAN)


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