By Abolade Ogundimu
Mr Olajide Fashikun, Director-General, Nigeria Sports Development Fund Incorporated (NSDFI), has promised effective use of the N900 million grant being planned for Nigerian athletes.
Fashikun made the pledge on Saturday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, on the sidelines of the funds launch in Abuja.
According to him, the Elite Athletes Development Grant is to ensure that athletes are highly prepared to represent the nation and increase it’s medal chances at Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“N10 million grant will be given to each athlete to ensure they are engaged with qualitative training programme, standard kits and equipment and also, their welfare will be taken care of during the period.
“Ninety athletes from five federations expected to benefit the grant from launching till November ending,” he said.
The director-general gave reason for the emphasis on how the fund should be used.
Fashikun said Taekwondo, Athletics, Wrestling, Para Sports, Shooting would be privileged to get 90 athletes prepared for next Olympics, adding that weightlifting was suspended.
He said aggressive 90 days campaign would follow the formal launch to mobilise 4.5 million Nigerians to donate N200 each to support 90 of our athletes ahead of the Olympics.
“Each nominated athlete will be presented a giant cheque, comprehensive life insurance cover and other appurtenances.
“They will be handed over to them to enable adequate team plan and preparation,” he said.
Fashikun added that “no athlete will be given grant on the day of launching because an earlier nominated athlete’s parents wanted the cash not following preparation plans.
“We cannot ensure adequate use of the money through such disbursement.
“Also, part of the objective of the fund is to ensure adequate preparation of athletes for reasonable time and proper programmes ahead of global competitions,” he said.
NAN reports that beneficiaries will be announced by the Chairman of the Elite Athlete Development Grants committee headed by Mr Stanley Nkwazema.