by Tajudeen Ahmad
In what was described as a dramatic victory for Nigeria in the just concluded International Open Canoe Sprint Championship in Bhopal, India, Osun State canoeist, Ayomide Bello has coasted home a gold medal in the C1 200m category of the event.
Ayomide, who was rated the best canoeist at the African Youth Championship in Algeria as well as the best athlete in rowing, canoeing and kayak at the National Sports Festival in Abuja last year was outstanding at the final phase of the competition as she battled past her colleagues from other parts of the world to clinch the most exalted medal in the 200m C1 category.
It would be recalled that the teenager had initially won 3 gold medals at the 500m C1 category at the same championship, having contested with her colleagues from China, India, Tunisia and Philippines among others
She also paired with Blessing Amusar to win a bronze medal in the 500m C1 category of the championship
In her reaction, the General Manager, State of Osun Sports Council, Mrs. Lola Oluokun described Ayomide as the best among her peers in Africa and an asset whose future in this category of sports is very bright and should be closely monitored and improved upon by the Nigerian Rowing, Sailing and Canoeing Federation (NRSCF) as well as the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The GM, who spoke through the Director of Coaching and Training Mr. Ademola Daini said “it’s a wonderful performance from the young girl who has not looked back since she broke into limelight about two years ago which has continued to pay off through rigorous training. Our belief is that this is just a tip of the iceberg as Ayo will always deliver for the nation”, added Mr Daini.
Commenting on the roles played by the State Government of Osun on sports development, Ayomide’s coach, Mr. Joseph Oladele appreciated the government for the enabling environment created for sports to thrive and the full financial support to the Sports Council to be able to participate in the annual National Youth Games and The Sports Festival which gave the opportunity for Osun stars to shine.
“Its a dream come true as the investment of Osun Government continued to materialise. All praises be to God while this achievement is credited to Governor Gboyega Oyetola and the entire management of the Sports Council “, concluded Mr. Oladele.
In the meantime, the Immediate past Commissioner for Sports, Social Protection and Special Needs in the State of Osun, Comrade Biyi Odunlade has promised to host Ayomide as soon as she returns from India with a view to encouraging her to keep the flag flying.
Secretary of the Nigerian Rowing, Sailing and Canoeing Federation, Mrs. Bunmi Oluode had revealed that four athletes represented Nigeria at the championship, adding that the Federation was delighted with the athletes’ performances owing to the competitive atmosphere in India.