President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday honoured some sportsmen and women who had outstanding performances in international events.

Among those honoured were gold medallists in the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow led by Blessing Okagbare and powerlifting championships in Dubai.

They received cash gifts of N2.5m each.

Those who won silver medals got N1.5m each while bronze medallists got N1m each.

Jonathan announced the rewards during a dinner he organised in their honour at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Coaches at the two championships got N1m each while officials at the Commonwealth Games got N700,000 each.

Their counterparts in powerlifting received N500,000 each.

Jonathan also doled out N1m each to those who won gold medals in African Senior Wrestling Championships; silver medalists got N750,000; bronze medalists got N500,000; coaches and officials N1m and N250,000 each respectively.

The rewards announced for the African Junior Championships were gold – N750,000; silver – N500,000; and bronze – N250,000, while coaches and officials got N750,000 and N250,000 each respectively.

Members of the women’s U-20 team that won silver in Canada, got N1m each, their head coach, N750,000 and officials N500,000 each.

Also rewarded were participants in African Team Athletic Championships in Morocco, African Youth Games in Botswana, the handball team to Sweden as well as the country’s contingent to the World Youth Games, who were turned back by authorities in China over an Ebola outbreak in Nigeria.

The athletes were given N500,000 each even though they had no opportunity to participate in the event.

Jonathan explained that the differences in the rewards for each category of sportsmen and women were based on the fact that some of the tournaments were more important than others.

He told the gathering that his administration was committed to ensuring that all sectors of national life were given the necessary motivation to achieve set goals.

The President recalled that the journey to winning of sports laurels was not an easy task.

He said, “Realising the significance of sports in national transformation, I took the decision to organise a retreat for the sports sector in 2012.

“This arose from my conviction that our outing at the 2012 Olympic Games did not represent full potential.

“Of course, if you look at the continent of Africa, we have the largest population; we are highest in terms of diversity and our economy is also the largest.

“In any competition in Africa, third position is not good enough for us because in all the other parameters we are never third.

“I am happy to note that things have progressively changed for the better since that retreat.”

Copyright PUNCH.