As the curtain draws on the 22nd Commonwealth Games, Birmingham 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari has celebrated the athletes that represented Nigeria gloriously in the competition.
The President joined millions of other sports-loving Nigerians to watch some of the colourful and spectacular moments in the 11-day competition, which had 5,000 athletes representing 72 nations and territories, competing in 280 medal events.
Saluting the memorable display of Team Nigeria athletes, the President commended the “94 worthy ambassadors that proudly flew the Nigerian flag in nine sporting events, and for those exciting moments when the medalists brought smiles to our faces by breaking world, national, and games records, as well as achieving personal bests in their career”.
With 35 medals, including 12 gold, 9 silver, and 14 bronze harvested already on the late evening of the 10th day of the Games, and more medals likely for the country on the last day, the President thanked the shining stars of Nigeria for competing among the best in the world and displaying the God-given attributes of the real Nigerian – never give up, strive to the end.
According to the President, “it is noteworthy that the majority of the medals so far, including 12 gold for the country, were championed by our talented young women and girls, including multi-medalist Tobi Amusan (100m Women’s Hurdle and 4x100m Relay), Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Grace Nwokocha (4x100m Relay); Miesinnei Mercy Genesis (50 kg), Blessing Oborududu (57 kg) and Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) in Women’s Freestyle wrestling; as well as Adijat Adenike Olarinoye (55kg) and Rafiatu Folashade Lawal (59kg) in Women’s weightlifting”.
Other gold medalists are Folashade Oluwafemiayo, Women’s heavyweight Para Powerlifting, Eucharia Iyiazi, Women’s shot put, Chioma Onyekwere, and Goodness Nwachukwu in Women’s Discus throw, and Ese Brume, long jump.
‘‘We are proud of these achievements and the memories will linger with the nation forever and for me this is a special moment and a fitting parting gift, being my last Commonwealth Games as Head of State,’’ the President says.
The President also lauded the coaching crew and team officials for their passion towards the development of sports in the country, assuring them that history will remember them for all their contributions to making our athletes shine in the international arena.
Sports Minister acknowledges Nigerian spirit
The Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has also congratulated Team Nigeria athletes and officials on their record-breaking performance at the games.
Nigeria finished seventh on the medals table with a record of 35 medals: 12 gold, 9 silver, and 14 bronze. Team Nigeria is also the first ranked African nation at the Games, also a first-ever in Commonwealth Games participation.
Nigerian athletes broke old Commonwealth records, and they set many new records. Over four decades of no medals in some sports was also broken.
“The performance of Team Nigeria is excellent, phenomenal, and commanding. A signpost of better performances in the future. Congratulations to Team Nigeria athletes and officials on their history-making feat at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“The athletes have once again demonstrated the true Nigerian spirit,” said the Minister in his congratulatory message.
The Sports Minister dedicated the award to President Buhari, “who approved various reforms and created the enabling environment for sports to thrive in Nigeria.”
“Our success in Birmingham is an indication that Nigerian sports is on the rise again in spite of the global economic downturn.
“Our youth have shown the resilience Nigerians are known for and we, as a Sports Ministry, will ensure we continue with the reforms we started in 2019 and which have resulted in the geometrical growth of the sector,” the Honourable Minister concluded.