The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, donated his one month salary to the elite athlete development grant midwifed by the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc in Abuja, while two youth athletes from Wrestling and Taekwondo are the first two athletes to enjoy the grant.
Speaking at the launch of the project meant to raise funds for 90 athletes in five sports towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Dalung commended the NSDFI management for re-inventing the same structure that was used to fund the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
He said: “Every Nigerian should contribute their N200 to this fund.
“Your initiative is one that drives confidence in contributors.
“You were able to simplify the funding, you laid out the way and manner the funds are meant to be used, you also created structures of former and respected athletes to manage the funds.
“I am very much impressed and as a mark of my faith and confidence donate my one month’s salary to the fund.”
In his earlier speech, the NSDFI Director General, Olajide Fashikun, said: “We shall seek the indulgence of the minister to take this campaign to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) where we want all ministers of the Federal Republic to contribute and fund, at least, one athlete to Tokyo.”
In his speech, the Chairman of the Elite Athlete Development Grant Committee, Stanley Nkwazema, said: “Upon success at the Games, all athletes are entitled to our Olympic bonus plan.
“Gold medal winners will get N10 million, Silver medal winners will get N7.5 million and Bronze medal winners will get N5 million.
“To ensure that the athletes maximise these opportunities, the Olympic bonus shall be paid into their account but the principal will be in Treasury Bills for a minimum of five years.
“They shall take the interests at the point of roll over of the principal.
“This is done to safeguard them from an unknown future that lies ahead of them.
“We want to avoid the errors of the retired athletes of today.”
Nkwazema, a former handball player, added: “Already, we have shortlisted 30 athletes who were at the African Youth Games in Algeria.
“We are targeting raising about N5 million each for them to start preparations for the 2024 Olympics.
“This we shall embark upon after completing the project of the elite athletes.
“After 2020, if the young athletes do well and meet our expectations, they shall join in the four-year N50 million grant.
“We can only be better but we must strive to that height.”
Ismail Mohammed (Taekwondo) and John Ogbonna (Wrestling) were the first beneficiaries.
Minister Dalung balloted their choice in the open before all the guests.
“They will each get N10 million to intensify their preparation towards the Olympics.
Former handball star, Emmanuel Olubiyo, a Chartered Accountant, revealed the details of the N10 million disbursement, saying: “N50,000 monthly living expense amounting to N600,000, while N1 million allowance for the athlete’s nominated coach, N350,000 for kits and wears.
“This will be available to the athlete twice a year.”
Olubiyo added that each of the beneficiaries are entitled to four mentees who will enjoy N100,000 cover.
This will translate to N400,000, while N5 million will be to cover competitions for the season outside Nigeria.
Each of the mentees will be entitled to one trip per season outside the country.
There will be N1.5 million Treasury Bills in the athlete’s name.
The interest will be used to fund the deferred annuity in their name for four years.
This will enable them enjoy annuity payments till they die.
However, N250,000 is for supplements.
This shall be available to them every quarter.
Olubiyo added: “They shall enjoy comprehensive insurance and first year deferred annuity N300,000.
“They are entitled to performance bonus of N500,000 at the end of the season, if the beneficiary meets performance targets set between them, the federation and we, the athlete gets the bonus which can only be spent across of the next 12 months.
“There is a N100,000 miscellaneous budget.
“Where the athlete does not spend this, it will be added to the Treasury Bills of the athlete for the next season.”