Tony Okafor, Awka
The Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, and the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, have hailed 11-year-old Miss Stephanie Onusiriuka , for winning gold medal at the Africa gymnastics clubs championship in South Africa.
The governor and the Minister in their separate commendation messages stressed the need for grassroots sports development.
Soludo, in a statement by his press secretary, Christian Aburime said “The Ndi Anambra spirit of excellence manifested fully in far away Pretoria, South Africa, when 11-year-old, Miss Stephanie Onusiriuka, from Anambra state won gold at the onging Africa Gymnastic Clubs Championship.”
“Recall that Stephanie won five medals and became overall best gymnast in Nigeria in 2021 when she was just ten years old. There and then she expressed her only desire to be the world best gymnast and hoped of becoming a part of the Nigerian gymnastics’ team at the Olympics in future.
“However, little Stephanie’s performance qualified her to participate in the Tokyo Olympics but her age was a major impeding factor, as the qualifying age is 15 years
“The Soludo government has continued to demonstrate commitment in growing grassroots sports development amongst the youth which is gradually yielding dividends
“Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo who has followed the exploits of little Stephanie Onusiriuka with keen interest, has applauded her examplary spirit of excellence for winning Gold medal at the ongoing Africa Gymnastics championship on Saturday night in Pretoria, South Africa
While congratulating Stephanie on her feat, Soludo noted that winning a gold medal at such a high profile sports event was a feat worth celebrating and emulating
He added, “Undoubtedly, the Anambra brand is synonymous with excellence which little Miss Stephanie has continued to demonstrate over time. There is great confidence that she will continue to be a true Anambra brand Ambassador as she flies the Nation’s flag higher, globally.”
Similarly, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has showered encomiums on Stephanie, saying that the ministry’s persistent attention to grassroots sports development was mirrored in Stephanie huge success at the continental Championship.
He said, “Right from my inception as the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, I took interest and followed the development of this talented young gymnast, Stephanie. I am happy she has continued to excel in her sport. I congratulate her for this landmark achievement and I thank her mother for her sustained commitments towards Stephanie’s growth”.
Stephanie started professional gymnastics with TIG Gymnastics at the National Stadium, Abuja in October 2018 and participated at the 8th Edition TIG International Level System Gymnastics Championship Competition.
At the 2019 National Youth Games in Ilorin, she grabbed several silver and bronze medals to become Nigeria’s youngest medalist in gymnastics. Her young career has continued to grow in leaps and bounds since then.