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No govt can fund sports alone ―Mary Onyali

Onyali stated this while she led a delegation of Nigeria Sports Development Fund Incorporated (NSDFI) and Mary Onyali Sports Foundation on a visit to the Acting Executive Secretary, Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) in Abuja.

According to the ex-Nigerian star athlete, sports was capital intensive, hence both corporate bodies and individuals had to complement government’s efforts in funding of sports.This, she said, was why both NSDFI and her Foundation were involved in sports development in the country.

She stated that the NSDFI was collaborating with BCDA with a view to getting children in border communities positively engaged through sports to provide a platform for them to excel.

“We want to give hope to parents and children in border communities across the country. Parents should allow their children to participate in sports.

“Sports does not derail any children from doing well in education. I am a living example of what any individuals can achieve through sports,” the Olympian stated.

She informed that NSDFI selected four sports, baseball, wrestling, weightlifting and table tennis, which it wanted to engage children from border communities in.

Onyali stated that NSDFI was targeting to produce medal winning youths who would win medal for the country at the 2024 Olympics and expressed the hope that the collaboration between BCDA and NSDFI would be an ever-lasting one.

Welcoming Onyali and her team, BCDA Acting Executive Secretary, Mrs Tayo Odumosu, expressed happiness that both NSDFI and Onyali Foundation considered supporting youths and children in border communities through the Agency.

“The BOOST programme which you designed is a great initiative and a welcome development and we sincerely hope and pray that our teeming children and youths in the border communities would be beneficiaries of this programme,” Odumosu stated.

While saying that the collaboration between the two bodies was coming at a trying period for the country, she said through joint efforts of both parties children in border communities would be exposed to sports and its advantages.

According to her, the prospects of some of the border community children rising to prominence and fame while representing the country was gladdening.

“This is especially so because most successful sports personalities emerged from poor and deplorable backgrounds and sports changed them,” she stated.

Odumosu, therefore, submitted that sports was a rallying point for Nigerians “where divisive issues of religion, tribalism etc are forgotten especially in the euphoria of the moment”.

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