By Sedara Oluwadara
World-class gymnasts from TIG International Gymnastics Club, Abuja, a private sporting club whose members, on Monday, September 26 visited Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has received praises from Nigeria Vice-president.
Decked in sporting outfits and accompanied by their coaches, parents and handlers, they were altogether a group of about 40.
The gymnastics club tutored by Coach Anthony Asuquo is blazing the trail, nurturing young talents and featuring them in several competitions already.
After the introduction of the delegation and brief remarks by their leader, selected members of the club took turns to speak about their experiences so far in the sport.
Multiple gold medal-winning athletes – Stephanie Onusiriuka and Tomisin Babatunde, and spokesperson of the club, also a youngster Dolapo Adedeji, spoke particularly about their experiences as international athletes, winning laurels for Nigeria, even as upcoming gymnasts.
8-year-old Dolapo Adedeji who spoke on behalf of the young gymnasts was full of praises for the Vice President especially for finding time to meet the team.
She spoke about gymnastics training at the club and some of the challenges faced by athletes and officials, especially in the area of facilities, seeking the support of the government and well-meaning Nigerians.Dolapo assured the vice president that athletes at the club will continue to work harder to make their parents, the club and the country proud at both national and international competitions.
On his part, Tomisin Babatunde who has bagged gold and 6 bronze medals to his credit so far, thanked the founder of the club and sponsors for the support given to him especially in actualizing his dream of becoming a professional gymnast.
He thanked the vice president for finding time out of his busy schedule to meet members of the club, noting that the gesture will spur them to soar higher.On her part, teenage sensation, Stephanie Onusiriuka, who started professional gymnastics in October 2018 and won a gold medal at the recently held Africa Gymnastics Championships in Pretoria, South Africa, thanked the vice president for the visit to the Presidential Villa.
Speaking after the remarks by the athletes and a video presentation of their participation in the recent championship in South Africa, Osinbajo expressed delight at the conduct of the gymnasts, their coaches and parents, especially as he was only becoming aware of the abundance of talents in the sport in Nigeria.His words: “This for me is very heartwarming, intriguing and exciting because there is really great hope for gymnastics in Nigeria, especially people who are starting so very young.“I want to commend TIG Gymnastics International, and of course, Coach Anthony Asuquo and other coaches and even the parents.
I think you are pioneers of some sort in encouraging your children to be gymnasts.”Acknowledging the abundance of talents in the country, the vice president noted that:“What we are seeing here is what Nigeria truly is.
Nigeria is a country filled with incredible talents and there are also incredible opportunities.”He then commended the founder of the club for his efforts over the years, noting that areas of possible support from the government would be explored especially in ensuring that more talents are nurtured to national and international prominence.
Earlier in his remarks, the founder of TIG International Gymnastics Club, Mr Asuquo, said the club founded 11 years ago, has trained 3,000 athletes, nurtured several gymnastics coaches and represented the country at international competitions.
He solicited support, especially in the provision of training facilities, and sponsorship of athletes and officials to national and international gymnastics competitions.