Nasarawa State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Amb. Lucky Isaac Yargwa, on Friday, hosted athletes from the State who won medals at various National Sports Championships at the Conference Hall of the Ministry.
The athletes won medals in Taekwondo, Traditional Sports, Karate and Hockey Championships, respectively, between the months of August and September this year.
At the Panamai West Africa and Cottage Mills Open Taekwondo Championship held in Lagos in August, the State’s team led by Coach Lois Jerry, finished on third position after winning a total of six medals, comprising three Gold, one Silver and two Bronze medals respectively.
At the Bayelsa State Taekwondo Open Championship held in August, Team Nasarawa equally emerged 3rd overall best, scooping one Gold, four Silver and two Bronze medals accordingly.
At the National Trado-Sports Championship staged in Abuja in August, Team Nasarawa came 3rd position, winning five medals, made up of one Gold, two Silver and two Bronze medals separately.
Though Team Nasarawa came 4th overall best at the National U-21 Hockey Championship held in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, in September, the duo of Shalom Joseph and Emmanuel Ayuba clinched the Best Goalkeeper and Star Player awards.
While at the National Karate Championship held in Abuja, in September, Team Nasarawa won two Gold, one Silver and one Bronze medals to finish 4th best side.
The Commissioner, during the reception, said, “It was an honour to host our great sports ambassadors from various disciplines at the Ministry today.
“We are proud of your achievements and encourage you to do more through hard work and project our image in good light as ambassadors of the State.
“We call for self-discipline so as not to ruin your talents as sport is a huge income earners and a source of employment for young people.
“The pride you have brought to the State calls for serious reflection on all of us, especially that most of you come from very humble backgrounds.
“I thank your coaches and all the backroom staff for ensuring you get the best trainings and preparations for your outings.
“You may wish to note that the Ministry is almost rounding off the process of enhancing your salaries and to improve your welfare packages in order to boost your morale for better performance.
“We are also doing everything we can to acquire modern and state-of-the-art sports facilities to enable you compete favourably with your counterparts in other climes.
“Concerning early camping for major tournaments, the Government is not relenting on that as it’s through such processes that you can get better preparations and win medals.
“We are also combing the nooks and crannies of the society to get competent technical know-how to support our staff strength for better performance.
“In general terms, the Governor Abdullahi Sule-led administration is result-oriented, rewards hard work and excellence.”
Earlier, Captain of the State’s Hockey U-21 team, Godiya Dogara, who spoke on behalf of the athletes, thanked the Commissioner and State Government for giving them the opportunity to participate at the various championships, promising to do more in subsequent events.
He, however, appealed for more action from the Government in the area of acquisition of modern sporting facilities to enable them be in tune with current sporting realities.
Coach Kingsley Enyie of Karate, on behalf of the Coaches, appreciated the Commissioner, Ministry as well as State Government for creating an enabling environment for the development of youth and sports in the State, assuring that they would continue to work hard to bring more honour and glory to the State.
While praying for the success of the Governor Sule-led administration, the Coach requested that provisions be made for early camping ahead of any major sporting event to put the athletes and their coaches in the best shape, revealing that it would give them an edge over their counterparts from other vicinities.
A minute of silence was held in honour of two of the State’s athletes, Aliyu Mohammed of Para Power-lifting and Maria Raphael of Taekwondo who lost their lives in auto accidents in Lafia, in August.