Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung has expressed dismay over the recent position of the leadership of the National body of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) to fault his position on the achievements of Team Nigeria at the XXI Commonwealth Games.
Dalung said the statement issued by its secretary, Wale Alabi on behalf of SWAN President, Honor Sirawoo was a cheap attempt at underplaying Team Nigeria’s noble outing at the just concluded games where they won 9 gold, 9 silver and 6 bronze medals.
“Let it be on record that we recorded enviable records at the XXI Commonwealth Games. We set a new World record in Powerlifting and we participated in Rhythmic Gymnastics for the first time. This is besides personal and season’s best records set by our worthy ambassadors.
“It is also on record that athletes were in various training camps for five months before proceeding for the games. Camp allowances, daily allowances during the games and winning bonuses of $5,000, $3,000 and $2000 were paid for the first time to athletes immediately after they won medals”.
Dalung described the statement as a personal opinion going by the positive media reviews after the games.
He stressed that preparation for a competition of that magnitude was more than gathering people in a closed environment for a particular duration in the name of camping as preparation for Commonwealth Games or Olympics is a long term process.
“I thought the leadership of SWAN would have known that close camping of athletes cannot be more than five months at a stretch since most of these athletes are students in various schools across the world. Preparation includes personal training regimen of individual athletes and most importantly regular participation in competitions.”