Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung has charged athletes participating at the maiden edition of the Governor Wike National Wrestling Championships to set their sight on dominating the 2018 African Championships to be staged in Port Harcourt early next year.
The Minister gave this charge during a colourful opening ceremony of the tournament held at the Alfred Diete-Spiff Civic Center in Port Harcourt on Monday.
Over 700 athletes from 24 states and 12 clubs are taking part in the competition which serves as a prelude and qualifiers for the continental showpiece which will also be staged in the Rivers State capital from 7-11th February, 2018.
Dalung added that the Ministry of Youth and Sports is poised to reposition Nigeria using sports.
“To the athletes, as you compete in this National competition, bear in mind that in two months time we are having the African Championships,” Dalung reminded the athletes. “The African Championships is taking place right here in Port Harcourt and in this very hall.
“In sports, we have taken a commitment that we are ready to make Nigeria proud if other sectors will not.
“In sports, we have decided to restore the glory of Nigeria.
“In sports, we have resolved to partner with anybody who will support sports development.
“In sports, we have decided to return the map of Nigeria within the committee of sporting nations. Therefore, our windows are wide open for partnership; for support and friendship.
“As young athletes, you must be proud of your country; you must train very well; you must compete favourably and make sure that when the Africa Championships will be taking place here (in Port Harcourt), my duty as the Minister of Youth and Sports is to come with a basket and harvest medals,” he charged the athletes.
Also at the event, the Sports Minister unveiled the official logo and mascot for the 2018 Africa Senior Wrestling Championships.