Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung on Sunday addressed the payments of training grants which could cause distraction in the Team Nigeria camp.
The Minister made the remark during his second visit in one week to the Games village to make clarifications on issues of training grants.
“I am here to make clarifications on certain developments that will portray us in bad light, disturb our unity of purpose and has a possibility of distracting our attention from success. The issue of training grants is an exclusive reserve of the federal government presently handled by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and it is a decision that will always be taken in our national interest.
“A statement suggesting discrimination is not at all in our interest. Grants are paid based on categorization and not based on the principle of where you are resident or where you train.”
The Minister also cautioned the athletes on intimidating up-coming ones and urged them to guard against causing problems in camp through rumour mongering and false information capable of breaking the unity and peace of the camp.
“The great athletes among you did not start as big athletes. You started somewhere before you attained greatness therefore you have to accord privileges and respect to upcoming ones. You’re not supposed to use your advantage to oppress others.
“I dislike this unwarranted distraction going on in camp and fueled by whosoever. This is not the spirit we started with. We must retrace our steps to the spirit which we started with.
“Everybody’s right and privileges must be given to him or her before the team departs from the Commonwealth Games. If per adventure, you decide not to participate or compete for Nigeria, that is not a problem but you must not use your decision of not serving Nigeria to influence other athletes. That is unacceptable.
Dalung continued,”I want to commend those athletes who have already competed but didn’t win. I’m happy you competed favourably with others although you didn’t win but those who do not want to compete for the country should remain peaceful in their decisions.”
Barrister Dalung however disclosed that rewards for new records will be at the discretion of the federal government.
In her vote of thanks, the new African 200m record holder Blessing Okagbare thanked the minister on behalf of the athletes for his fatherly advise and his clarification on some issues affecting the team.
She promised that the team will do their best to make Nigeria proud at the ongoing Games.