It was jubilation time for Oyo State athletes, who won medals at the 20th National Sports Festival tagged “Edo 2020”, as Governor Seyi Makinde on Wednesday announced cash rewards for both the medalists and their coaches.
The state ended the festival with 31 gold, 30 silver and 42 bronze to come sixth on the medals table.
At the festival, the state presented 230 athletes, 55 coaches and 44 support officials and personnel, making a total of 329 contingent.
The state contigent participated in 22 events in the male and female categories.
Governor Makinde announced the rewards while receiving the medalists and the entire contigent at the Executive Council chamber of the Governor’s office, Agodi, Ibadan.
Speaking while commending the performances of the athletes, the governor said each gold medalist is to be rewarded with N500,000, silver and bronze medalists, N350,000.
Makinde also said that gold medalists in the Discus/Shot-put and Para-powerlifting events are to get N1million each.
Total amount to be paid to the athletes and the coaches stands at N66million.
While N38.5million went to the winners of gold, silver and bronze medals, the 55 coaches got N27.5million.
Speaking on rewards generally for the contingent, Makinde stated that the Oyo State Sports Council was mandated to give certain rewards to each of the medal winners as they won right in Edo State, and that the government-approved allowances for all the contingent.
He promised that everything would be done to ensure that the state produce winners of world medals in the nearest future.
He said with the performance, the state is setting a new target of at least 100 gold medals at the next edition, assuring that the government would do all that is required to ensure that the target is met.
Presenting the athletes to the governor earlier, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Seun Fakorede said the latest feat was unprecedented in the history of the state, noting that the state even outshone states with larger contigents to the festival on the medals table.
He thanked the governor for the support promising that efforts are in place to do better at the next sports festival.
Speaking on behalf of the athletes, a gold medalist in tennis, Babalola Mumini, appreciated Governor Makinde for his support for sports development in the state.
He appealed to the governor to ensure adequate training and retraining for their coaches, and necessary logistics for the athletes.
He added that the government should put necessary measures in place to ensure that the medalists are not poached by other states for the 21st National Sports Festival that will hold in Delta State.