*President Jonathan to receive heroic Team Nigeria
By Tony Ubani, Glasgow
Sports Minister and chairman of the National Sports Commission, Dr Tammy Danagogo has spoken of his emotional trauma over teenage Weightlifter Chika Amalaha who was stripped of his gold medal after committing an anti-doping violation at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The Minister who was dumb-struck by the disgrace that was meted to the country has also vowed that heads would roll over the teenager’s dilemma by those who should have saved Nigeria from the global shame suffered in Glasgow.
Chika Amalaha has therefore been disqualified from her event in the Games, with her result in the Women’s Weightlifting 53 kilogram competition nullified and her gold medal awarded to Dika Toua from Papua New Guinea. This is just as the World Anti Doping Agency WADA has vowed to investigate how a teenager like Amalaha had access to banned substances — amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide. Both substances are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which said it plans to investigate.
‘’My heart bleeds for this 16-year-old girl. She looks too innocent to commit such an offence. She is naive. It’s so unfortunate because it was this same girl that did so well in Gabrone, Botswana. And she was tested and was certified clean. We must get to the roots of this and the coaches, and our anti-doping officials have questions to answer. Why didn’t they do their job before coming here to disgrace Nigeria?”, a visibly pained and angry Danagogo asked.
‘’For a young girl like this, we had good plans for her. She is still in shock over what happened to her. She ignorantly took what she took for weight reduction. It is devastating to me and definitely we’ll look at the level of involvement of her coaches, officials, crew and our anti-doping officials. They ought to have detected this before coming to disgrace Nigeria here.
It’s disappointing that we have highly placed anti-doping officials who did not do their jobs. It is embarrassing and severe punishments will be meted to those officials either for their involvements or negligence as a deterrent. This disgrace is not only on one girl but on the whole of the contingent and the nation. Enough is enough”, the Minister warned.
The Minister also re-assured Team Nigeria contingent that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as part of his love for excellence in sports would also roll out the red carpets to honour the deserving athletes who have done well for their fatherland.
There has been sighs and hisses from the athletes that the President might not receive them since they were no footballers. But the Minister poured cold water on their fears saying; ‘’you have represented our country and Africa well and I am very positive that President Goodluck Jonathan, will be well pleased to receive the athletes with more rewards and honour for all the medalists. We have paid the athletes their allowances and winning bonuses but that is not all. That is only from the point of the sports ministry. It is common knowledge that Mr. President loves sports and has established a tradition of rewarding and honouring athletes that bring glory to Nigeria. Not only for the Commonwealth medalists. As a matter of fact, Mr. President has asked after the handball team and other national teams that won laurels in various major international competitions during the year. So, we are re-submitting a memo to this effect, proposing an event for the president to receive and honour them”, the Minister informed.