Nigeria has called for an urgent review of officiating standards in Olympic sports ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to sustain the credibility of the global sports fiesta.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung who made the call at a Country Meeting with Tokyo 2020 organisers on Monday in Tokyo, Japan as he lodged a strong protest against officiating standards particularly in boxing, which he said is yet to conform to the standard in other Olympic Combat sports.
Dalung who led a high powered delegation including the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, Habu Gumel and other NOC Technical Officials warned of the risk to the credibility of the whole Olympics if member countries perceive that there’s no level playing field in certain sports because of subjective officiating standards.
“While other combat sports like taekwondo, karate, wrestling and judo have digitized their scoring system with scoreboards showing real time scores, boxing is still maintaining a standard where individuals would whisper among themselves at the end of a bout and unilaterally declare a winner without any transparent system of scoring. How can there be fairness in such a situation when results are determined by the whims and caprices of individuals?” Dalung queried.
He cited the example of the Rio 2016 Olympics where a Nigerian boxer secured several knock downs of his opponent in a bout only for the officials to whisper among themselves and declare the opponent winner thereby attracting loud protests even from spectators adding that if the sport does not digitize its scoring system at Tokyo 2020 then countries like Nigeria would be left with no option than to participate at nominal level knowing they have no medal prospects under such officiating standards, a scenario he said will not augur well for the credibility of the games.
Responding the Executive Director International Relations of Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee Aki Murasato noted Nigeria’s concerns and promised that the organisers will convey these observations to the International Boxing Federation, which sets such officiating standards in boxing, while advising that the Nigeria Boxing Federation should similarly lodge a complaint with the world boxing body.
During the two hour interactive session the Nigerian delegation watched multi-media presentations from different sub committees including Events and Venues, Accommodation and Feeding, International Relations as well as Hospitality House Committees.
The briefings are aimed at updating member countries with the level of preparations for the Olympiad while providing them with first hand information on available facilities for the games to enable them make informed choices and decisions to ensure the smooth participating of their Olympic Teams.
Nigeria is the first African country to take advantage of the one on one meeting with Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee arranged on the fringe of the XXIII ANOC General Assembly holding from 27th – 29th November, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan.
Earlier the Nigerian Sports Minister Solomon Dalung had inspected Olympic and Paralympics Training Camps being offered by Kisarazu City, a serene community about 1 hour drive outside Tokyo.
Accompanied by Nigeria’s Ambassador to Japan, Prof. Mohammed Gana Yisa, NOC President Habu Gumel, he inspected Track and Field, Multi-purpose Indoor Sports Complex and Accommodation facilities being proposed for Team Nigeria.
The City renowned for its famous Aqua -Line, a 10 Kilometre tunnel 57 metres under the sea, which cuts travel time between Tokyo and Kisarazu to 40 minutes, is one of two cities offering to host Team Nigeria camping for the Tokyo Olympics. The other, Oyama City, is offering camping facilities for Two Sports namely, Basketball and Weightlifting.