* Mary Onyali (_in red), Fashikun, 4th left in a group photograph after the MOU signing ceremony

*Five federations’ athletes to enjoy the grants

The  Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI), and Leadway Assurance Nigeria Limited have signed memorandum of understanding  to provide minimum insurance cover for amateur athletes, coaches and officials from sports federation proposed to form the pilot of the National Athletics Insurance Scheme. 

Altogether, 90 athletes from five sports will enjoy Olympic grants after the Commonwealth Games with comprehensive insurance and annuity plans, says Mr Olajide Fashikun, Director-General of NSDFI Tuesday at the MOU  signing ceremony in Abuja.

According to the former handball national team captain, Fashikun said, “as part of our commitment to make Nigerian amateur athletes in the nation feel safer doing sports, we are entering into this agreement with Leadway Assurance Nigeria Limited for this scheme. This is a programme we have aimed at achieving since 21 years ago when the organisation was incorporated to raise fund to develop sports in the country.”

The insurance giants who have been primed to provide comprehensive insurance coverage and annuity for the 90 athletes in Badminton, Cycling, Athletics, Taekwondo and Wrestling. These athletes will be supported to prepare for the 2020 Olympics. They shall enjoy N10m grant. N5m is to enable them attend tournaments anywhere in the world as part of eyeing medals in the Olympics.

“Gold medal winners in Tokyo will go home with N10m, silver will get N7.5m and bronze will get N5m. These are structures we are using to replicate the same way our Fund supported the 2006 Olympics which has remained the hall mark of our Olympic appearance,” said the former Zamalek SC of Egypt handball player.

The Leadway Assurance folks led by the Zonal Director, Mr Allan Onifade, said, “we appreciate the professionalism of the NSDFI team. At a point we thought this deal has fallen through. It is our prayer to see some of these young athletes who will be motivated to do better with our insurance cover. We also thought we were going to see the President, Ibrahim Gusau, whose interest has been silently felt by us. Nigerian athletes are in for a protected future from this season courtesy of the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI).

“As the nation’s insurance giants with a long and respected history over the years, we are so glad to have the product. It is wonderful working with this team of former Nigerian internationals whose passion for the next generation is compulsive. I can guarantee the nation’s athletes that this is a new energy to propel them to be better athletes. In Leadway Assurance, we are the best and that is the house to look forward to for life to go on with confidence,” Onifade submitted.

Present at the event were the Executive Director (Technical) Chief Mary Onyali and the Finance Director Alhaji Fatai Adeshina. While on the Leadway team were Mustapha Onasanya, Idowu Akinwunmi, Femi Awodimbola and Sunny Usiobaifo