Athletes need your cash support at African Games, Ogunkoya tells Dangote, Otedola, others


Says $5,000 grant for foreign-based stars inadequate

Nigerian ex-Olympian, Falilat Ogunkoya wants top businessmen and women in the country to extend their cash support to the athletes, who will fly the nation’s flag at the fast approaching Maroc 2019 African Games, the same way they rally around the Super Eagles and other football teams during major competitions.

In particular, Ogunkoya wants the likes of Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola to extend their ‘dollar rain’ to athletics saying: “To be an athlete is a job, and Nigerians, particularly the rich ones, should look at the direction of our athletes now that they are preparing for the African Games in Morocco.

“If you can pay $25,000 per goal in football, what stops you from showing some love to these athletes? There are more than 25 gold medals in athletics, and I am sure our athletes will go the extra mile to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians if they were well motivated at the African Games. They need the dollars as well.”

Ogunkoya won a number of national and international championships, including a bronze medal in the 400m at Atlanta ’96 Olympics, where she ran a personal best and African record of 49.10 seconds, which is currently the 12th fastest of all time. She was a gold medalist at Jo’burg ’99 All African Games in the 400m.

Ogunkoya also told The Guardian yesterday that the sum of $5,000 being proposed as training grants for the foreign-based athletes ahead of the Africa Games in Morocco and IAAF World Championships in Doha was inadequate.

“If it is true that the sports ministry is proposing to pay $5,000 as training grants to the overseas-based athletes, to me, it is too small. I don’t know why the amount is going down. It wasn’t so in our days. These athletes struggle to meet up with their training in USA and other parts of the world. They pay their coaches and settle their bills. It is not like football where the players enjoy so many cash privileges. The athletes also pay their flight tickets to come to Nigeria to compete. We have to put all these into consideration,” she stated.

To Ogunkoya, dangling some cash inceptives at the athletes before the African Games is necessary. “Talent is given by God, but we have to help the athletes so that they can achieve their dream.”

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