The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has promised to bankroll the 2020 Tokyo Olympics preparations of Uche Eke who is the first Nigerian to qualify for gymnastics at the Olympics.
The Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, made the pledge yesterday when he received the 23-year-old US-based gymnast in his office in Abuja.
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It will be recalled that Uche Eke also won gold at the African Games in Rabat, Morocco in 2019.
Dare said it was memorable to receive the athlete as Team Nigeria continues the build-up for podium successes at the Tokyo Olympics.
He said “Nigerian sports development is on a new trajectory driven powerfully by individual athletes with excellent performances and no person better symbolizes or signposts the future of our sports development than this young 23- year old youth Uche Eke.
“Watching his documentary on BBC and CNN over and over, I knew this determination came from his heart. I then realised that if most of our youths can immerse their successes within Nigerian just like Eke, who said he loves the Nigerian flag, then his highest form of patriotism should resonate with all.
“When it comes to sports, what drives excellence is the spirit of patriotism that makes you want to excel for your country.
“Youths remain one of the greatest resources that this country has, hence there’s an absolute focus on investing in their lives in whatever field they find themselves in.”
In his response, Eke thanked the Minister for his support, while assuring that he will remain focused. “Each time I go out there to compete, seeing the President of the Gymnastic Federation of Nigeria, I feel the whole of Nigeria is with me.
“I appreciate the Honourable Minister for all he is doing for the Nigerian youth and sports development. I pledge my commitment to remain focused at the Olympics. I’m going for a podium performance to make the nation proud.”