After inspiring Nigeria to emerge third at the recently concluded 19th edition of the West African UFAK Karate Championship held from 2nd to 7th August, 2022, in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina-Faso, Nasarawa State athlete, Chioma Ani, was, on Monday, given a hero’s welcome by the Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Chioma beat her counterpart from the host nation, Burkina-Faso, in the Women’s +68kg Kumite Category final to win her first International Gold medal.
The prodigy who won her bout in a dramatic fashion arrived Lafia, the Nasarawa State Capital from Burkinabe Capital along with her National Coach, Coach Amenze Jude-Atoe and the rest of the Nigerian Karate team.
The new UFAK Champion was received by the State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Amb. Lucky Isaac Yargwa, Director of Technical, Mustapha Sani Bello, and Nasarawa State Karate Coach, Kingsley Enyie, at the former’s Office in Lafia.
Chioma, overwhelmed by the reception accorded her, claimed it was the best day of her life.
“I am really happy for the grace of God upon my life to get to the level I find myself today.
“I am the happiest person you can think of.
“I thank our amiable Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule and the Nasarawa State Government for the support we continue to enjoy from them as sports people.
“I also thank the Commissioner, Mr. Lucky Isaac, whose daily motivation spurs us to go an extra mile.
“I thank everyone in the Ministry, especially Directors and my Coaches who continue to inconvenience themselves to give us the best in order to conquer the rest.
“I can’t pay my family enough for their support and belief in me.
“It’s my prayer that God will reward you all in abundance.”
The medalist revealed that she would continue to do her best in every competition until she realised her dream to become a world champion in the nearest future.
Filled with ecstacy, the State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Amb. Lucky Isaac Yargwa, congratulated Chioma Ani for placing the name of Nasarawa State and Nigeria on the international map.
“I want to commend you for the wonderful things you are doing for the State and country at large.
“This isn’t the first time you are winning Gold Medal for the State, even though it is the first time you are doing so for the Country, Nigeria.
“We were very impressed when we heard of your performance at the West African UFAK Karate Championship in Ouagadougou, Burkina-Faso.
“For us at the Ministry, we are saying a very big congratulations and well-done for bringing smile and glory to the State.”
Yargwa equally commended all those responsible for the nurturing of the victorious athlete to rise to global stardom.
“I also commend the efforts of your coaches, both in Nasarawa State and at the National level, and Directors of the Ministry for all the wonderful work you people are doing to give a good name and image to the State and country at large.”
The Commissioner noted that the Governor Abdullahi Sule administration is not weary to reward hard work and excellence, assuring that Chioma Ani would benefit from the Ministry’s recent improvement in the Salary of athletes who win medals and their coaches alike.
“I wish to reiterate our determination and commitment to reward hard work and excellence, especially medalists.
“Your triumph came at the time we are reviewing monetary packages for our athletes and coaches.
“We wish to assure you that your salary shall be enhanced, and this is to spur you to work harder in your service to the State.
“We have the National Youth Games and the National Sports Festival around the corner, so, we are doing everything within our powers to outperform our previous outings.
“We can’t be better prepared like we are today because we have a Governor who has made the environment very conducive for youth and sports to thrive and enable our athletes to compete favourably with their counterparts around the globe.”
Recall that early this month, Chioma Ani, together with her six other compatriots, won a total of seven medals, made up of three Gold, three Silver and one Bronze medals, respectively, at the West African UFAK Karate Championship, to emerge third best team at the competition.
During the 2021 20th National Sports Festival in Benin City, Edo State, Chioma Ani won Gold medal for Team Nasarawa.