Athletes of Making of Champions (MoC) Track Club in Lagos received an August visitor while training at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Monday, October 14, in the person of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon. Sunday Dare, who stopped by to watch them train and to also offer words of encouragement to the athletes.
Hon. Dare commended the efforts of MoC Founder/CEO Bambo Akani towards raising athletes that could potentially make the country proud on the global stage, and emphasized the need to have more of such initiatives replicated across the country.
He said, “I had to cancel my flight to really come and see the athletes and also see those behind MoC. The fact that I’m here is a validation that MoC is blazing the trail that I want to see happen in this country. I think what we have going here is instructive apart from being commendable, because what Bambo is doing is exceptional.
“If you have a number of Bambos across the country, about a dozen of them doing what he’s doing with this team, I think that will be a major contribution to sports development, especially Athletics. Making of Champions is gradually becoming an institution; it’s becoming a model that the ministry would replicate.”
Hon. Dare also offered the ministry’s support for MoC athletes that have represented the country at international events, such as Joy Udo-Gabriel, Blessing Oladoye and Emmanuel Ojeli who represented Nigeria at the African Games in Rabat where they won medals in the women’s 4x100m and 4x400m events, and the men’s 4x400m relay as well.
“The message today is that the ministry recognizes what Bambo and his team are doing with MoC; it’s commendable. It’s a model that is workable and is timely, and the ministry will recognize this; the ministry will in fact provide support for MoC and also for the athletes that are Olympics bound”, he said.
“We will encourage you and support you for your training and camping as the case may be. We are going to look for similar organizations like MoC across the country and bring them together because we are also trying to look at the model in which we co-ordinate, and groups like MoC implement and we give them the support that is necessary.”
Hon. Dare also disclosed that the government is gearing its efforts towards rehabilitating facilities that will aid Nigerian athletes’ training and preparation ahead of major events.
“I’m not happy that over the years we’ve not had a maintenance culture in terms of maintenance and management of these facilities that has deprived our athletes of the necessary structure to train. We’ll pay attention to restoring some of these major facilities, not just the football pitches or the terraces, but also I’ve been to the indoor sports stadium”, he said.
“I’ve seen the Weightlifting and a couple of areas in which we can see clearly from Morocco, we’re really strong in Wrestling, Weightlifting, Table Tennis, Badminton; we need to bring back some of these sporting facilities, and government is determined to do that working with the private sector, and that process is already ongoing.”