Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu on Monday officially launched the National Athletics Development Centre in Ondo State.
The governor while promising to support the exercise called on people of the state to rally round the Nigeria Sports Development Funds Incorporation (NSDFI) in order to make it a success.
He said the funds will go straight to the coffers of the state sports council to enable sports experience rapid growth. He revealed that the establishment of the NSDFI in Ondo state is the most realistic move to address part of the facilities as well as equipment problems.
He charged Ondo youths to participate as canvassers of the Nigeria Sports Development Funds Incorporation with a view to earning honest money.
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He noted that the program will impact special training for coaches and athletes in relevant sports across the state.
In his speech, Director General of Nigeria Sports Development Funds INC (NSDFI), Olajide Fashikun said 16 of the best Nigerian Athletics stars will live in Akure preparing for Tokyo 2020, courtesy the Federal University of Technology Akure.
He added that 72 of Ondo state children and youth will be mentored by NSDFI to become Olympians in 2024.
“Each of these mentees have a N100,000 support fund. 24 of your kids, the Owena Little League, are leaving for Poland this year to represent the nation”.
“It is about the community and the tomorrow of our children and youths. It is about sports business. In the next one year, if we review this project and it is not running on its own economy and pace, then, all of us have failed”, he stressed.
On the Olympic grant, the Ex handball player said, “We are launching a N900million Olympic grants drive for 90 athletes in five sports today. The code name for the drive is “Be bold. Be human. Be real.” We are only asking 4.5million Nigerians to donate N200.00 to us in 90 days”.
The President Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Honorable Ibrahim Gusau said the federation has worked out modalities for private sector funding their sports.
Gusau said athletics is having a new nursery in every of the six National Athletics Development Centres.
“We have worked out modalities for the private sector funding of our sports. This model shall start to yield fruit by the beginning of the 2019 season. This new model will start to impact on the Golden League. On thing is sure, the entire six legs of the league in 2019 season is a money spinner for participants”, he said.
Also speaking, the minister of sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung ably represented by the Director of Elite Athletes, Federal Ministry of Sports, Dr Ademola Are said the program will help the nation raise a new generation of stars.
“This is apart from the massive employment that will be generated. Before the launch, I gathered that 500 people has been employed and that at optimum level, 5,000 people will be engaged at no cost to government”, he said.