The Minister of Youth and Sports Development Solomon Dalung, says sports is the best performing ministry in the country under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dalung said this on Tuesday in his office in Abuja, while receiving athletes and officials of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), and the Nigeria Rowing, Canoeing and Sailing Federation, who did the country proud at various international competitions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NWF participated in an African Championship in Tunisia, winning six gold, two silver and five bronze medals, while the canoeing athletes won one gold and three bronze medals at the Canoe Sprint Championship held in India.
Both events were held at different dates in March.
Dalung said that the level of achievements and laurels won by the country’s athletes in the last three years were indications that funds allocated to sports were prudently utilised.
The minister noted that President Buhari had at different occasions personally expressed his satisfaction with the ministry.
“Wrestling is proving to be one of Nigeria’s strongest sports both at the continental and global levels.
“Whether it is at the continental or global level, Nigerian wrestlers have distinguished themselves as a force to reckon with, thus giving the sport an enviable place of pride and elevating the country’s image as a top wrestling nation.
“At the continental level, the Nigeria wrestling team placed first in Africa on the overall medals table during the 2015 Africa Games held in Congo Brazzaville.
“Similarly, the Federation dominated other African countries, particularly in women wrestling, where they won the title as African Champion at the 2018 Africa Championships which Nigeria hosted for the first time.
“Furthermore, when our female wrestlers participated at the two-ranking series events, in Germany and Bulgaria in February and March 2019, their performances created avenue for our star athlete, Adekuoroye Odunayo to be ranked fourth in the World and first ‘in Africa.
“This success, apart from writing a chapter in the annals of Nigeria Wrestling Federation history, is more importantly an indicator of the possibility of an Olympic medal in Tokyo 2020,” Dalung said.
Daniel Igali, President, NWF, who presented the wrestlers to the minister assured that the athletes would do the country proud at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Igali said all hands were on deck to ensure the country occupy the top spot in world wrestling rankings.
Rear Admiral Festus Porbeni (rtd), President, Nigeria Rowing, Canoeing and Sailing Federation also presented his athletes as well as the medals won and said that Nigeria would soon dominate other African countries in the sport.