By Ikenna Nwokedi
The Anambra State Government under the leadership of Mr. Governor, His Excellency, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo has splashed over N25 million to Team Anambra athletes who won medals during the 21st edition of the National Sports Festival (NSF) and 7th edition of the National Youth Games (NYG) both held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba, Delta State.
Chief Ernest Ezeajughi, Chief of Staff to Anambra State Government while presenting the cheques on Thursday, 21st December 2023 in a reception held at the Alex Ekweme Square Awka for the athletes who featured at both games, commended them for being worthy ambassadors of the state by their representation, conduct and performance during the biennial sports festival and annual youth games.
Ezeajughi stated that the present Government has the interest of Anambra youths at heart with the ‘One Youth Two Skills’ initiative aimed at empowering the young ones to be creative, productive and contribute their quota towards societal growth. He also stated that the government has also mainstreamed sports economy as another area of empowerment for Anambra Youths.
On his part, Patrick Estate Onyedum, Chairman of Anambra State Sports Development Commission (ASSDC) eulogized Gov. Soludo for his immense support towards the growth of the sports sector. Onyedum affirmed that Gov. Soludo is a lover of sports as can be seen with his approvals and nod given to programmes of the ASSDC.
The Gold medal winners at the 21st NSF each smiled home with the sum of N500,000 with cheques issued to six athletes – Ajuluchukwu Okagbue (Scrabble), Njideka Iyiazi (Para Athletics), Covenant Isaac (Kung Fu), Obinna Ibedu (Kung Fu), Ujunwa Nwankwo (Karate) and Prince Anagor Gardy (Boxing).
Cheques of N300,000 were issued to seven silver medal winners comprising of Njideka Iyiazi (two silver medals in Para Athletics), Esther Ezerioha (Para Athletics), Onyedika Okafor (Taekwondo) and John Unyime (two Silver medals in Weightlifting) with N300,000 each to athletes who won Silver in Female Team Kata and Female Team Kumite both of Karate event while N100,000 each went to the winners of the 24 bronze medals of the Anambra contingent to the games.
Athletes who won Gold medals for the state at the 7th National Youth Games held in September 2023 went home with the sum of N200,000 as Lucy Nwankwo (100 metres), Chibuikem Oranye (Taekwondo), Favour Obiefuna (High Jump), Goodluck Njoku (Karate) were the recipients while the duo of Ogechi Elechi and Chibuikem Oranye who featured in Team Poomsae (Taekwondo); Henry Etido and Onyebuchi Omenka who featured in Male Beach Volleyball and the quartet of Chigozie Nwankwo, Lucy Nwankwo, Adaeze Eze and Oluebube Ezechukwu (4X100metres) all got N300,000 cash rewards.
Ethel Jimoh (Gymnastics), Chima Edeh (Chess), Victor Nwakohu (Chess), Lucy Nwankwo (200 metres) and Chigozie Nwankwo (100 metres) and the Female Rugby Team all got N200,000 each with seven athletes who won individual bronze and two team sports going home with consolation prizes of N100,000 each.
The coaches were not left out as Gold medal winning Coaches at the 21st NSF such as Odionye Bethel (Scrabble), Paul Okechukwu (Kung Fu), Godwin Okoro (Karate) and Ebenezer Okoli (Boxing) are N500,000 richer. Others whose athletes won Silver and Bronze medals each got N100,000.
Gold medal winning Coaches at the 7th NYG such as Emelda Okoye, Johnny Igboka, Dum Noel Okeke, Olu Sule, Bakam Alpha, Chikodi Utah (all from Athletics), Jude Nwafor (Taekwondo), Godwin Okoro (Karate), Stella Otti and Ijeomah Ndudi (both of Beach Volleyball) all went home with the sum of N200,000 each as others whose athletes won silver and bronze medals settled for N100,000 each.
Anambra State won a total of 39 medals at the 21st NSF comprising of 6 Gold, 9 Silver and 24 Bronze while the contingent to the 7th NYG won a total of 22 medals comprising of 7 Gold, 6 Silver and 9 Bronze.