Former Nigeria queen of track, Mary Onyali says collective effort will help achieve their goals for Nigeria Sports Development Funds Incorporated (NSDFI).
NSDFI plans to raise N900 million to support 90 athletes ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The athletes will be selected from five sports, an annual Olympic grant of N10 million will be given to each athlete from the money raised.
Speaking during a meeting organised by the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday, Onyali said the initiative is aimed at investing in athletes and turning them to world-beaters in various sports.
“This is a private initiative. It is not government. All we want is 4.5 million Nigerians to give us N200 each. Anyone giving us a multiple is just taking us faster to the destination.
“By the first week in August, we want all the 90 athletes to have gotten their grants and intensify their preparations for Tokyo 2020. We hope about one-third of them will get the qualification and at least, another one-third to win at least bronze. That will give us 10 bronze medals which will be an improvement from where we are coming from.”
“For any Nigerian in Tokyo to get a bronze we shall pay out N5m, N7.5m for Silver and N10m for gold. We are giving a committee the task to manage that role for us. They will soon be inaugurated,” she disclosed.
She called on Nigerians to see the fundraising as a national call aimed at assisting government to get the best of athletes represent Nigeria at the next Olympic in Tokyo.
“We have to invest in our athletes. Sports development funding is never and can never be a government project. That is why we are using private initiatives to drive these processes. We want to achieve this in 90 days and wish Nigerians will make a success out of this for our nation. God bless Nigeria,” she concluded.
Swan boss, Honour Sirawoo who was impressed by her sense of patriotism nominated her for an award by the SWAN National Secretariat which will take place during the next Full Council meeting in Port Harcourt.
Sirawoo also commended the new initiative of the NSDFI to raise N900million to support 90 athletes from five sports.
“We have been monitoring your activities. We are so proud of you and your team working to raise a new generation of stars. We are not just proud of you. We are with you all the way. If there is anywhere you want us to back you, let us know, we shall back you fully.”