BY Mark Babatunde, 9:08am September 06, 2016,

Ivorian President Honors Olympic Medalists with Houses and Cash Rewards

Ivorian president Alassane Quattara and his wife Dominique pose for photos with his country's Olympic medalists; Cisse and Gbagbi

Ivory Coast President Alassane Quattara has rewarded the country’s Olympic winning medalists with house gifts while also conferring them with national honors.

Gold medal winner Cheick Sallah Cisse was presented with a new house and 50 million CFA francs or about $84,000. Ruth Gbabgi, who won bronze, also received a new home and 30 million CFA francs or about $51,000.

Cisse became Ivory Coast’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist, when he defeated Great Britain’s Lutalo Muhammad 8 to 6 to win a dramatic final in the men’s 80kg Taekwondo category at the Rio Olympics.

Gbagbi’s Taekwondo bronze medal win in the women’s 67kg category for defeating Farida Azizova of Azerbaijan was also a first for the Ivory Coast: Gbagbi is the country’s first-ever female Olympic medalist.

According to the BBC, at the ceremony to honor the athletes at the state house in Abidjan, President Quattara and his wife, Dominique, wore the Olympic medals as they posed for pictures with the successful athletes. Earlier, President Quattara described the success of the Olympians as “a dream realized,” saying that their victory had put Ivory Coast on the map of the world in every area. He also promised more government support for athletes.

Marie-Josée Ta Lou and Ben Meite, who also did well at the games but didn’t win any medals, were also part of the government’s largesse. Ta Lou came in fourth in the women’s 100m and 200m, while Meite placed sixth in the men’s 100m. While the two didn’t receive houses for their efforts, they both went home with 20 million and 10 million CFA francs, respectively. All four athletes were conferred with Ivorian national honors.

Cisse’s and Gbagbi’s medals come 32 years after Ivory Coast’s last and only Olympic medal win: Tiacoh Gabriel’s silver win in the men’s 400m final in the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: June 19, 2018


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