African, Olympic Games: Surpassing Atlanta 96 performance worries Minister

With the fast approaching Paris Olympics and All Africa Games, the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, is becoming increasingly worried over medal’s prospect for Team Nigeria at the games.

It will be recalled that Atlanta 96 Olympics remains the best for Team Nigeria with one gold in soccer, one silver in Women;s 4x 400 metres relay won by Falilat Ogunkoya, Fatima Yusuf, Charity Opara and Bisi Afolabi.

Team Nigeria also won 3 bronze medals –one in boxing, two  in athletics making it the best ever podium finish for the country at the games.

Speaking to Presidents of different National Sports Federations, Enoh wondered why it is difficult for Team Nigeria to surpass the Atlanta 96 feat.

“My worries is when we go to the All Africa Games in Ghana-how many times are we going to be call to the podium ? What of the Olympics ? The time is ripe to surpass the Atlanta feat,” he said..

Enoh charged Presidents of different National Sports Federations to partner with the Ministry of Sports Development to ensure a vast improvement in the general performance during the forthcoming African, Olympic/Paralympic Games 2024.

Speaking during a technical meeting with presidents of the various sports federations, Senator Enoh outlined the focus of the meeting to be: Each Federations roadmap ,medals projection, challenges and the way forward towards podium performances at the games.

The Minister who described the meeting as important, stressed that coming after the retreat with different Sports Federations in December last year, his expectation was that this technical meeting affords the ministry and the various stakeholders within the nation’s sports ecosystem the opportunity to change the narrative of the sports sector and consolidate on the gains achieved at the retreat.

He expressed the hope that the meeting will be inclusive, participatory and productive adding that ultimately the meeting is all about the country’s sports and its performance.

Senator Enoh reiterated his commitment and determination to take the nation’s sports to greater heights and sued for the cooperation of the various stakeholders. 

Building on this commitment, Senator Enoh expressed his preparedness to explore all available options including holding periodic meetings with stakeholders and encouraging processes that will lead to amendments of relevant laws to ensure that sports receives the desired injection that it needs for better performance.

He said, “looking at where we are coming from, there is no reason why we should not hold periodic meetings between the Ministry and the various sports federations. On our part, the Ministry is fully committed to ensure that these meetings take place on a periodic basis because we have a shared responsibility with the sports federations”.

The Minister who identified funding as the greatest challenge facing sports in the country for the past 30 years, said that he would do everything within his power to surmount the problem. 

He also stated that his engagement with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the issue of adequate funding of sports strengthened his resolve and commitment to solve this problem.

The Minister commended the Ministerial Podium Performance Advisory Team led by Professor Ken Anugweje and the Presidents of the various Sports Federations for the work they are doing in the various federations.

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Sports Development, Ismaila Abubakar, said the meeting was convened by the minister to enable the various stakeholders to brainstorm and evolve strategies for the nation to achieve success at the African, Olympic/Paralympic Games and other sports competitions.

The technical meeting which took place at the media center of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium was well attended by the various presidents of national sports federations, their general secretaries and the evaluation team.