A Nigerian weightlifter, Chika Amalaha, has emerged as first beneficiary of the Elite Athlete Development Grant, which is being midwived by the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc. (NSDFI).
Amalaha was part of Team Nigeria’s contingent to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in India, where she won a gold medal in the 53kg category of the women’s weightlifting event. But she was stripped of the medal two days later after failing a doping test. Amalaha has since returned to weightlifting following the expiration of her suspension.
Director General of NSDFI, Olajide Fashikun, told The Guardian yesterday that a cheque of N10 million, comprehensive life insurance cover and other things would be handed over to Amalaha by the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, on Monday at the launching of the Elite Athlete Development Grant in Abuja. The ceremony will hold at the media centre of the National Stadium, Package A.
According to him, Amalaha was picked from a list of 15 weightlifters. “What we did was to choose five sports federations (athletics, weightlifting, para-sports, taekwondo and wrestling), and then did a balloting. At the end, weightlifting emerged, and from the 15 athletes, Amalaha was the luckiest,” Fashikun explained yesterday.
The grant is to enable Amalaha and her team to prepare adequately for Tokyo 2020 Olympics.A breakdown of the benefits show that Amalaha will get N600,000 living expense of N50,000 each for 12 months, N1million allowance for her coach, N350,000.00 for her kits and wears, N5m to attend competitions outside Nigeria, N1.5m Treasury Bills, N250,000.00 for supplements and N300,000.00 for comprehensive insurance.
Other benefits include performance bonus of N500,000.00 at the end of the season, miscellaneous budget of N200,000.00, while each of the beneficiaries will be entitled to four mentees who will enjoy N100,000.00 for international trips.
Fashikun added: “89 other athletes are expected to benefit from the first tranche of N10m before November ending. We have approximately two years to the Games. The formal launch will signal the aggressive 90-days campaign we have planned to mobilise 4.5million Nigerians to donate N200 each to support 90 of our athletes who are preparing for Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The media will not be left out of the grants. Five of the journalists who follow the designated sports will enjoy N2.5m grant to cover the Games.”He further revealed that subsequent beneficiaries would be announced by the Elite Athlete Development Grants Committee headed by Mr Stanley Nkwazema.
Other members of the seven-man committee are former African badminton champion, Mrs Oby Solaja, who is Vice Chairman, first Nigerian to attend five Olympics Games, Chief Mary Onyali and former 800m champion, Fatimoh Muhammed.