Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, on Saturday challenged Nigerian athletes to go for gold at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

Oyo-Ita said this at an Award Dinner for 2017 Retirees of the Ministry of Youths and Sports and athletes who won medals for Nigeria in 2017 at the Abuja National Stadium.

According to her, “I have always been delighted at the performance of our athletes at continental and international levels.

“Success in sports does not come easy, I therefore congratulate all athletes that are honoured tonight for your discipline, hard work and commitment.

“It takes a lot of commitment and discipline to win a medal in sports; I want to urge you all to sustain these qualities as you prepare for the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

“You will prove to the Commonwealth of nations that you are indeed a force to be reckoned with. And I enjoin all of you to go for gold. ”

Oyo-Ita commended Solomon Dalung, Minister of Youths and Sports, for seeing the need to celebrate civil servants who served Nigeria with their strength.

She said the event was a moment to showcase patriotic Nigerians who had done their best for the country and also to showcase the unity of the country.

The head of the civil service said event like this celebrating accomplishment was a good signpost to encourage civil servants still in service, that honesty and hardwork were important.

“To the retired civil servants, being retired does not mean that you are tired. All experience gathered during your service year should be deployed to your new area of life.

“I enjoin you all to remain worthy ambassadors of the Civil Service even in retirement.

Earlier, Dalung said the event was the ministry’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to athletes that won medals in 2017 and civil servants that retired in the ministry.

“We are proud of you, in 2017 no ministry performed better than the ministry of youths and sports.

“We qualified for the world cup for the first time in the history of Nigeria, with one match ahead.

“We qualified without the usual presidential task force that used to gulp not less than seven billion naira; this means that the ministry has saved Nigeria from losing seven billion,” he said.

Dalung listed some of the sports that won medals in 2017 to include, scrabble, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Wrestling, Weightlifting.

According to him, in 2015, a Nigeria emerged the world Scrabble champion and in 2017 Nigeria won it again back to back; this is a great achievement that is worthy of celebrating.

“National federations won lots of award that the monetary valve will be enormous. This and many more are why we are gathered there today to celebrate you,

Dalung also commended the NYSC Cultural Troupe for winning the dance drama competition in Sochi, Russian.

Also, President of the Nigeria Olympics Committee, Habu Gumel, said the award for athletes was to encourage them to do more.

He said there were many sport events that Nigeria would participate and there was news to encourage the athletes.

Responding on behalf of the athletes, Moses Peter, second best scrabble player in the world, said that the award would encourage the athletes to do more and make the country proud.

NAN