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    Thursday, September 8, 2016

    Olympics: N10m Proposed For Nigerian Gold Medallist

    Any Nigerian gold medallist from the next Olympics could earn as much as N10m for the feat if the Federal Government approves the proposal put forward by the National Sports Reform Committee. The proposal for proper cash rewards is on page 13 of the document submitted to the sports minister Solomon Dalung last week.
    The team headed by Godwin Kienka advised that the country needed to reward the athletes meaningfully like some other countries as a way of inspiring them more.
    By the breakdown, a silver medallist is to get N5m and N2.5m for bronze. The cash package is categorised into different levels for major international events like the Commonwealth Games, World championships, World University Games and the All Africa Games/African championships.

    The committee put forward N5m for a gold winner at the Commonwealth Games/World championships/World University Games with N3m and N1m for the next levels winners. The various medallists in the All Africa Games and African championships are to be rewarded with N3m, N2m and N1m going by the advice of the members of the committee that sat from April 17, 2016 until the report was handed to the minister after the Rio Olympics.
    The document submitted to the minister and obtained by The PUNCH states in 5.5.2, under the heading National Cash Rewards, “The reward is strictly for each medal not medallists. For instance, team sports and relays count as one medal. In addition, the rewards should apply to all officially recognised sports. This performance reward system has been used effectively in the USA where the United States Olympic Committee gives $25,000 for gold; $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. Canada, more or less, adopts the same reward system.”

    The committee then suggested different sources for the funding of the rewards. They listed the Federal Government, the National Lottery Fund and the Central Bank of Nigeria amongst others.
    On Monday, Ivory Coast President Alassane Quattara rewarded the country’s two medallists from the Rio Olympics with houses. Cheick Cisse, who won Taekwondo gold was given the equivalent of $85,000 and Ruth Gbagbi, who won bronze in the women’s event, received $51,000. Cisse’s gold medal was the country’s first in its history.
    Nigeria’s cash reward system was practically suspended under the regime of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as president and replaced by a ‘Presidential handshake.’ Cash reward was restored Goodluck Jonathan with the Super Eagles win of the African cup in 2013 as the most elaborate government celebration.
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