The wife of former Olympic gold medalist, Sunday Bada, who died in December, 2011, Mrs. Adesumbo Bada wept yesterday, when President Goodluck Jonathan received and decorated members of the Nigeria’s 4x400m relay team at the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia in the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa Abuja.
According to a source, Sunday Bada, who was also Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) have had suddenly slumped and was rushed to a hospital in Lagos, where he breathed his last.
Members of the victorious team are Clement Chukwu, Jude Monye, Sunday Bada (represented by his wife), Fidelis Gadzama, Aniefiok Udobong. They would also be given national honours later.
President Jonathan announced N5 million each for the six members of the relay team while their handlers - Innocent Egbunike and Solomon Abari - got N1 million each.
An elated President Jonathan, while recalling that he was part of the delegation as Bayelsa State deputy governor to Sydney 2000, expressed happiness that the handshake he missed then with the victorious athletes, he was getting now as President.
He said their accomplishment at that level of competition speaks volume of their hard work, tenacity and indomitable will to succeed.
He condemned short-cut means to fame, adulation and wealth, saying cheating in whatever field was evil, saying the team’s achievement had shown that playing by the rules of the game pays, adding that the nation must build a society that puts premium on integrity and transparency and hardwork.
President Jonathan said, “I am delighted to receive the gold medal of the 4×4 relay team who won the gold medal at the Olympics Games in Sydney, Australia in 2000. On behalf of the Nigerian people I congratulate the team and it’s achievements and it’s honour, which they have brought to our country.
“For me I think today I am as happy as yourself because, as the minister of sports mentioned, I was there in Sydney with you as the deputy governor of my state and if this medal was given to you there I could have had a handshake with you, but what I missed in 2000 I am getting it today. So I personally congratulate you for this. Though the honour you have been accorded today is most belated through no fault of your own, it is, as the say, better late than never.”
President stressed the importance of sports in unifying the country and urged that every thing must be done to nurture it.
Earlier, the Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, recalled that the silver medal won by Nigeria’s 4x400m relay men at the 2000 games in Sydney Australia was recently upgraded to gold medal by the International Olympics Committee.
The Sports Minister acknowledged the efforts made by various people over the years to ensure that justice was done. “I will specifically recognise here the former minister of sport, Mr Damishi Sango who did all within his will to ensure that this gold medals are properly awarded to Nigeria.”