The Ministry of Youth and Sports Develop-ment has said that it is not liable to pay para-table tennis athlete Temitope Ogunsanya’s claims of $8,000 profes-sional athlete grant for attending the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Tidesports gathered that the ministry’s position came after a committee was set up by the sports minister, Sunday Dare, to look into the athlete’s allegation of non-payment of his entitlement by the sports ministry.
The Netherlands-based Ogunsanya, who repre-sented Nigeria in the Men’s TT6-10 at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, said while other athletes received their payments, he was left out.
“The grant is meant to cover professional athletes’ training expenses before the competition. I represented Nigeria at the 2018 Gold Coast Games in Australia. There are some special packages, Professional Grant allowances, that the ministry gives to profes-sional athletes at interna-tional events. It depends on the events, at the Games they paid all professional athletes $8,000 each but excluded me,” Ogunsanya said.
“All my flight tickets were not paid in full. Out of $4,000, I was paid only $2,000 and I do not know why.
“I asked the former Permanent Secretary (sports ministry), Olusade Adesola, about the money several times but nothing came out of it, I have also interacted with the new Permanent secretary, Gabriel Aduda, on Twitter but nothing seems to be coming out of that too.
“I’ve been fighting it out so that they could pay me as soon as I returned from Australia, to no avail,” Ogunsanya added.
But the ministry, in a letter dated November 24, 2020, and signed by its Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, Benedict Ekanem, insisted they were not in a position to make further payments to the athlete, having earlier paid his allowances while in camp for the 2018 Games.
“According to the extant rules, only the sports minister and the Permanent Secretary are entitled to fly business class. Conse-quently, all athletes and officials were directed to comply by ensuring they flew economy (class) to and from the Commonwealth Games (Gold Coast 2018). You are hereby advised to always consult the ministry or your federation before purchasing flight tickets,” the ministry stated in the letter.
“In view of the above, I am directed to inform you that the ministry is not in a position to grant you any additional payment since you were already paid while camping in Nigeria, as it is a rule that any international athlete who participates at the local camp is not allowed to receive any international grant.”
Ogunsanya has, however, vowed to continue fighting his case.
“This is an unacceptable decision. I will still write to the minister and if that doesn’t work, I am ready to write to the Presidency. Others have been paid, I need to be paid too,” Ogunsanya added.
Organisers Explain 2021 NSF Postponement
The 21st edition of National Sports Festival earlier scheduled for November 2 to 15, 2022, in Asaba, Delta State, will now hold from November 28 to December 10, 2022.
According to a statement by the Festival Secretary, Peter Nelson, and addressed to all Commissioners of Sports and Directors of Sports, the postponement was at the request of the host, Delta State.
“I wish to convey the request of Delta State Government to shift the date of the 21st National Sports Festival earlier scheduled to hold from November 2 to 15, 2022.
“It is now shifted to start on November 28 to December 10, 2022.
“The reason for the postponement is to give Delta State more time to complete some of the facilities needed for the festival,” the statement reads.
It will be recalled that the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival held in Benin City, Edo State, which was tagged: “Edo 2020,” also suffered several postponements until it finally held from April 2 to 14.
Nigeria Must Embrace Grassroots Sports Dev – Amusan
Women’S 100 metres hurdles world record holder, Tobi Amusan, believes that grassroots development programmes and top-notch training will help the country discover more athletics world champions.
Speaking in Lagos at a dinner organised in her honour by The Plug, an entertainment firm, tagged ‘Tobi Amusan’s Homecoming,’ she blamed the exodus of the Nigeria’s top athletes to other countries to what such nations offer the athletes.
“Grassroots sports development is something we lack here and the reason we often lose our top athletes to other countries of the world.
“From my experience training in the United States, if we can have such development here, we can groom young talents and unearth more Tobi Amusans,” she said.
On the recent ratification of her record by World Athletics, Amusan said: “That my world record was ratified by the world body means that I am drug free and that I am clean. I feel great about it. Every time I am on the track, my eyes are always set on how to win and I execute it by winning.”
She also spoke on the recent reception by the Federal Government, saying, “It is great feeling that we were recognised by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In as much as we did the work, it was an honour that they took into account and they recognised the fact that we did the nation proud. It is such a great feeling getting the national honour.”
She acknowledged the support she got after her world record feat, with her followers on Twitter rising from 3000 to 150,000 under 24 hours, saying it showed that people appreciate what she is doing.
On the criticism by men’s 400 metres world record holder, Michael Johnson, after her record breaking race in Oregon, U.S, Amusan said she was not bothered. “Honestly, I kept doing my thing because after the World Championships, I had other competitions to attend. I don’t dwell on negativity… I look on the bright side of the sport.”
At the event, Flutterwave, which used the occasion to declare it has signed a multi-year partnership deal with Amusan, said: “It is very difficult to find athletes who embody our core values the way Tobi does.”
YSFON : Academy Coach Begs For Assistance
The Head coach of the De Kings International Football Academy (DKIFA) of Port Harcourt Okpaleke Chika King is begging the Rivers State ministry of Sports, private and corporate individuals and all lovers of football for financial support to assist his team represent the state in Youth Sports Federation Of Nigeria (YSFON) competition.
He said that his team was representing Rivers state at the ongoing Chief of Naval Staff National (YSFON) Competition in Ilorin, Kwara State. He said he had written a letter to the Ministry of Sports and also to some private individuals for assistance.
King made the assertion on Saturday in an exclusive interview with Tidesports in Port Harcourt before leaving for Kwara state.
According to him he had nothing to do than to borrow money for the journey believing that when the State’s Commissioner for Sports sees the letter he would not fail to respond to it.
“ As you can see, my boys are ready for the competition but we lack support.
“ I have written to the Ministry of Sports and also to some private individuals to assist us but I have not gotten any reply, yet.
By: Kiadum Edookor
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