Our investment on Aruna Quadri paid off in Rio, says FROT Group boss, Momoh
Rewards player with N1m, Toriola N500,000, Oshonaike, others to share N1m
Seven-time Olympian, Nigeria’s table tennis star, Segun Toriola could not hold back his emotion when he was called to collect a cheque of N500,000.
“This is the most memorable moment in my entire sports career,” he said. “The 2016 Rio Olympic Games was my seventh, and I have not receive this kind of gesture from any individual or company in the past. I am really overwhelmed by this gesture from FROT Group and I will forever be grateful to the owner of this company,” Toriola stated.
It was a welcome dinner that took players and officials of the Nigerian table tennis team to the just concluded Rio Olympic Games, and many sports-loving Nigerians by surprise.
While the Nigeria male football team, Dream Team VI, was battling their Honduras counterparts for the ‘golden’ bronze in Rio on Saturday evening, the management of FROT Group, an energy and construction company based in Lekki, Lagos, decided to roll out a red carpet for Aruna Quadri, Toriola, Funke Oshonaike and other members of the table tennis team in a welcome dinner at Wheatbaker hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
In the past three years, the owner of FROT GROUP Company, Frank Momoh, a philanthropist, had been providing financial support for Nigerian sports, including football, table tennis and wheelchair basketball at state and national levels.
During the preparation for the Rio Olympics, Momoh played the ‘big brother’s role’ by providing financial support for the duo of Quadri and Toriola.
At the Olympics, Quadri made history, beating his world-rated German opponent, Boll Timo, 4-2 to seal a historic berth in the quarterfinals of men’s single table tennis event, the first African to reach that level at the Games. Impressed by the Quadri’s performance, Momoh announced a cash prize of $2,500 for him.
On Saturday night in Lagos, Momoh did not only fulfill his pledge to Quadri, but extended the cash reward to Toriola, Funke Oshonaike and other members of the Nigerian table tennis team to Rio.
While Quadri got N1million, Toriola was rewarded with N500,000, and Oshonaike and other members of the team got N1 million.
“I represent a company that believe in putting back in the society we live in,” Momoh said. “When you invest, you expect what we call return in investment. I am so happy that our investment on Quadri for the Rio Olympic Games paid off. One person cannot change the face of Nigerian sports, but we will continue to do our best for our athletes to realize their dream,” Momoh said.
Speaking further, the Edo State-born philanthropist expressed his disappointment over Team Nigeria’s poor finishing at the Rio Olympics saying: “The embarrassment is getting too much. Nigeria, a big country of over 180 million people should do better at the Olympics. Our football team just managed to win a bronze and everybody is singing that a half loaf of bread is better than none. It should not be so. I am using this opportunity to call on the private sectors to come to the aid of Nigerian sports. And I am calling on our government to bring back our inter house sports, Principal Cup and NUGA Games. The Jamaican Usain Bolt may not be the fastest man in the world, but he is the fastest man so far discovered. I have the belief that Bolt may not be faster than those our men in the village who use their bare foots to chase rabbits and catch them in the bush. We all know that rabbits are faster than human beings all over the world. What I am saying in effect is that a majority of our talents are yet to be discovered and with more support from the private sectors, I am sure we will put up a better performance at Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Like I said earlier, I am rewarding Aruna Quadri for his brilliant performance in Rio. It goes to show that with more support for his preparation for the next Olympics, which includes sponsoring him to attend world-class competitions, where he can score more points, the sky will be his limit in Tokyo 2020. I also decided to reward Segun Toriola for his contribution to the development of table tennis and his induction into Club 7 at the Olympics. The N1 million rewards for other members of the table tennis team is to appreciate them for representing Nigeria with a high level passion and behavior in Rio. They did not hold the nation to ransom for one reason or the other,” Momoh stated.
The Frot Group boss however lauded the Wahid Enitan-Oshodi leadership of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), saying: “The leadership of NTTF has proven once again that it has good plans for table tennis. With patriotic support from sport loving Nigerians and organizations, Nigeria can establish her authority in world reckoning.”
An elated Aruna Quadri described Frank Momoh as God sent saying: Perhaps, if not for the financial and moral support he gave to me and Toriola during our preparation for the Games, the journey would have been difficult for me in Rio. Before the Olympics, I got support from Frot Group , which helped me to buy my training kits and some other things I needed to do well in Rio. Momoh has done so much for table tennis and my prayer is to continue to do well in my career so that his labour will not be in vain.”
On her part, Mrs. Chinedu Ezeala-Ogundare, as well as former Secretary General of the Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC), Banji Oladabo were full of praises for FROT Group for coming to the rescue of table tennis in the Nigeria.