By Alexander Johnson Adejoh
The Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Development Mr Sunday Dare has pledged to give all necessary support to the first Nigerian to qualify for Gymnastics at the Olympics, Eke Uche, by taking over his preparations for Tokyo 2020.
The Honourable Minister made this pledge last Monday May 31, 2021 when he received the 23-year-old US-based, Uche, in his office in Abuja. Fides recalls that Uche also won gold at the African Games in Rabat, Morocco in 2019.
The Minister revealed that it was indeed memorable to receive the athlete as Team Nigeria continues the build-up to podium success at the Tokyo Olympics.
‘Nigeria Sports Development is on a new trajectory driven powerfully by individual athletes with excellent performances and no person better symbolizes or signpost 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 youth 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,’ Mr Dare noted.
The Minister further said ‘I want to congratulate you first because you have brought to form the nexus between education and Sports which is what America and Europe preach, graduating with a first-class from Michigan State University while also excelling in Gymnastics. Two years ago in Morocco, we saw how your discipline, consistency, dedication, and determination brightened our journey to the Olympics. We are proud of every young one who is putting our nation on the world map in sports.
‘The Youth remains one of the greatest resources that this country has, hence there’s the absolute focus of investing in their lives in whatever field they find themselves in. This has been the business and the Mandate of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development,’ the Minister reiterated.
Responding, 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 podium performance to make the Nation proud,’.