- Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare (left), with the Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, during the conglomerate’s announcement of financial support for summer Olympics Games-bound Aruna Quadri and Olufunke Oshonaike to aid their preparations, under the ministry’s #AdoptAnAthlete Programme
By Anthony Nwachukwu
Leading indigenous conglomerate, SIFAX Group, has given financial support worth $20,000 for two Nigerian table tennis stars, Olufunke Oshonaike and Aruna Quadri, to aid their preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The support, $10,000 to each, was provided under the #AdoptAnAthlete programme of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development aimed at getting private sector support for athletes representing the country at the summer Games.
Sifax Group Corporate Affairs Manager, Muyiwa Akande, disclosed that the financial support would cater to the athletes’ preparations, including medical expenses, hiring of personal trainer, dieting and other related needs.
Presenting the support in Lagos, the Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, described the ministry’s initiative as capable of encouraging the athletes to give their best at the global event.
“We wish to applaud the efforts of the minister for bringing relevant stakeholders onboard to support our athletes going to the Tokyo Olympics.
“This laudable initiative will go a long way in encouraging the Olympians to aim for gold, knowing fully that the country is ready to provide some sort of support to put them in the best frame of mind and shape for the competition.”
Afolabi further praised Quadri and Oshonaike for their outstanding talents and consistency over the years, both at local and international levels, and charged them to do the nation proud at the Olympics, noting that their “incredible and outstanding talents cannot be overemphasised.
“They have represented the nation graciously at various sporting events across the globe and we are proud of them. I want to use this opportunity to encourage them to go all the way at the 2020 Olympic Games.”
Oshonaike, who competed at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics for the first time, will be at the Tokyo Olympics for the seventh consecutive time at the tourney, a feat never attained by any African athlete before.
On his part, Quadri is currently 27th in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) male world rankings. He was the ITTF 2014 Player of the Year, and also part of the Nigerian bronze-winning team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.