Barrister Solomon Dalung, the Minister of Youth and Sports has felicitated with four- time African weightlifting champion and Commonwealth gold medalist Mariam Usman, on the occasion of her decoration with a 2008 Olympic bronze medal.
Usman placed 5th at the Beijing Olympics but was upgraded to third position after the silver and bronze medalists were stripped of their medals for drug use.
On the occasion held at the media Centre of the National Stadium Abuja, the Minister expressed delight in the the medal upgrade which came 9 years after the games took place.
“Today is a day of great joy because our Olympic medal profile has increased. In the Olympic Movement, there is justice. Although there is an adage that justice delayed is justice denied, in this case it is the opposite. Since 2008 to 2017, justice has finally come to us.
“We believe in integrity, and fairness in competitions therefore where we have performed fairly, we also expect justice to be fair to us. I use this opportunity to congratulate the Nigeria Olympic Committee for doing a good job.”
Barrister Dalung also congratulated the Nigeria Wrestling Federation for winning Silver at the World Championships, the Nigeria Basketball Federation for winning the Afrobasket and the Nigeria Football Federation for their steady progression towards qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“I want to sincerely thank the Nigeria Football Federation for the unity of purpose, solidarity and fraternity going on in the federation. These have laid the foundation for the progress we are making towards Nigeria’s qualification for the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
“I’m specially congratulating the Federation because this is the first time that we are prosecuting a World Cup qualifier without a Presidential Task Force. In the past, Nigeria spent nothing less than N7b on the task force. At the end of the day, we have recorded huge success as we top our group with 10points.
“We have two more games to play. We will train hard and re-inspire our commitment and ensure that we deliver a ticket for Russia 2018 to Nigerians.”
The President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee Engr Habu Gumel also congratulated the Bronze medalist for reclaiming her medal from Ukraine.
“Today is a very important day for us. I received an email from the International Olympic Committee asking me to decorate Mariam Usman with this Olympic Bronze medal and send the pictures to them. I’m doing this decoration on behalf of the International Olympic Committee to be used next week in Peru during the IOC session where the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games will be awarded.
“We are happy that this medal has finally come to us and I charge all federations to commence training early ahead of the Commonwealth Games next year.”Gumel said.
All Federations Presidents as well as board members of the Nigeria Olympic Committee were in attendance during the decoration ceremony.