Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta on Tuesday in Asaba rewarded the victorious Team Delta contingent to the 18th National Sports Festival in Lagos with about N291.98million.
Uduaghan gave each gold medallists N1 million, while athletes who won silver and bronze medals received N600, 000 and N400, 000 respectively.
He also announced a reward of N400, 000 for each gold medal and N300, 000 for each silver medal won in team events, while each bronze medallist in the group got N200, 000, reports NAN.
Coaches and secretaries of athletes and teams that won gold were rewarded with N1 million each, while their assistants received N600, 000 each.
For coaches and secretaries whose teams and athletes won silver medals, the governor offered a cash reward of N600,000 each and N300,000 to each of their assistants, respectively.
In the bronze medal category, the coaches and secretaries received N240, 000 each, while their assistants got N200, 000 each.
Delta State contingent emerged overall winners at the Games with a total medal haul of 288, comprising 116 gold, 97 silver and 75 bronze.
At the ceremony held at the Events Centre, Asaba, Uduaghan said that Delta had never had it “as good in sports as we did in Lagos.”
He said the victory had brought greater unity to the state, stressing that even his worst critics and known enemies identified with him following the contingent’s success and congratulated him.
The governor said the government’s investment in sports was to provide employment for the youths, adding that “it is also part of our efforts at achieving our vision for a Delta without oil.”
He said the decision of the government to give cash rewards was because of the pitiable conditions some athletes who had represented the country and won laurels at international competitions found themselves after retirement.
“The rewards the Delta Government is giving to our athletes this evening is not anywhere near the pride their efforts have brought to the state.
“We cannot pay the athletes enough for their great performance and the honour they have given to us.
“We are determined to encourage them and from the plans we have, we will have gold medallists from Delta at the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016,” he said.
Uduaghan disclosed that the state had already begun preparations for the next sports festival, tagged “Paradise Games,” scheduled to hold in Calabar, Cross River in 2014.
“At that Games, we will change our strategies,” the governor added.
Governor Uduaghan also announced the award of scholarships to the children of a swimming coach in the state, Monday Aigbe, who died on December 13 shortly after leading Delta swimmers to win 24 of the 40 gold medals at stake in the sport at Eko 2012.
The governor said that the scholarship would take the children of the deceased coach to doctorate degree level.
The governor presented a cheque of N1 million to the children as cash reward for their late father for being victorious at the Games.
The late coach was said to have died of Hypertension-related ailment which lasted for a few days.