With 24 days to the start of the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo, Team Nigeria had listed 61 athletes to represent the country at the quadrennial games.
The Minister for Youth and Sports,. Sunday Dare said on Monday while addressing the plenary meeting with the National Sports Federations for the games at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
“As at today, Nigeria has qualified 61 athletes across nine sports for the Olympics, and 22 athletes in four events for the Paralympic Games, which are: athletics-22, badminton-3, basketball-24, canoe sprint-1, gymnastic-1, rowing-1, taekwondo-1, tableTennis-1, wrestling-1 which sums up to 61 and for Paralympic Games we have; athletics-5, powerlifting-10, power rowing-1, table Tennis-6 summing up to 22,” he remarked.
The Minister further said “The recent qualification of Nigeria for the Women’s 4x100m, Women’s 4x400m and 4x400m Mixed Relays was a significant achievement for the country, while still awaiting the World Athletics (WA) to ratify the slots in few days.
He said Team Nigeria will depart for the games in two batches. “The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 affected the organisational structures of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games and this consequently pushed International Federations (IFs) to review their international sporting calendar and qualification pathway for athletes in their quest to participate at the Games.
“These challenges, are difficult to overcome, but could not stop us as a great nation in ensuring that our athletes are strongly supported and motivated to achieve this milestone.
“I must sincerely commend each and every one of you for your commitment and for standing together in this journey. Specifically, I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his immense support in approving and ensuring that funds were released to enable our athletes attend series of qualification tournaments.
“The Ministry in collaboration with the Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC) has scheduled a 14-day Pre-Games Training Camp (PGTC) for the athletes in Kisarazu,Japan. The move, he said is to further expose the athletes to adequate preparations ahead of their events as well as to give them ample time to adjust to the Japanese time zone.
“It is also strategic to meet with COVID-19 regulations and for the Olympic Games, the first batch of the athletes are scheduled to depart for Kisarazu on 6th July, 2021 while the second batch depart on 13th July, 2021. The paralympic Teams will depart in one batch on 8th August, 2021.”
The Minister said in order to ensure a hitch-free participation in Tokyo, the Ministry had engaged four Travel Agencies to handle flight tickets of Team Nigeria Contingents.
” As the Games are gradually approaching, I feel it would be necessary for us to finalize on our strategies towards ensuring podium success at both the Olympics and the Paralympic Games,” the Minister noted