Tokyo Olympics: Team Nigeria depart in batches

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Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, Monday, commended the National Presidents of Federations that qualified for Tokyo Olympic Games.

He particularly, appreciated President Muhammudu Buhari for releasing funds used for organi6zing the National Trials and other events that provided windows for the country’s atheletes to qualify for the games.

While addressing the Presidents, their Secretary Generals and the Nigeria Olympics /Paralympic Committees that converged at the media center in Moshood Abiola Stadium to delibrate on a technical section as well as finalise all logistics and preparedness for their atheletes and team Nigeria, he disclosed that 61 atheletes have qualified for the Olympics in nine sports.

He said 22 atheletes qualified in four sports of the Paralympics.

Other include Atheletics – 22, Badminton – 3, Basketball – 24, Canoe Sprint – 1, Gymnastic -1, Rowing – 1, Taekwando – 1, T/Tennis – 1 and Wrestling -1. Para- Atheletics – 5, Para – Powerlifting – 10, Para – Rowing – 1and Para – T/Tennis -66.

The minister further disclosed that the women relay qualification in 4x100m, 4x400m was an added advantage to their podium performance and as well, gives big hope to the country.

According to him, the Covid – 19 pandemic though disrupted the world sporting calender year including this event which was suppose to hold in 2020 there by necessitating all the countrs to review their qualifying stages and preparedness.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Nebolise Anako coordinated the technical section which was termed family delibration by most of the presidents in attendance.

He created a transparent avenue for all to speak on their preparedness for the Tokyo games including requirements for their atheletes. The presidents appealed to the ministry to release the kits for training to their atheletes to enable them familiarize with them before the main gain. They also used the opportunity to chose the flag bearers for Team Nigeria. For the Olympics game, Odunayo Adekuoroye (Wrestling) will lead the team during the opening ceremony while Ese Bruno (Atheletics) will assist him during the closing ceremony. For the Paralympic, Lucy Ejike will lead her team and be assisted by Tajudeen Agunbiade (T/Tennis).

However, President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee Engr. Habu Gumel emphasised that the country should not disappoint President Mohummed Buhari who has warned that the atheletes must travel and come back clean despite their desire for gold medals.

Also, he revealed that almost all the Federations travelling to Tokyo have submitted their team list and that by first week of July, all would have submitted their list.

Both the ministry and NOC unanimously agreed that 14 days pre-games training came be arranged for the atheletes in Kisarazu, Japan to enable them adjust to the climate.

They however, agreed that the first batch will depart on July 6 while the second batch will depart on the )July 13, 2021, while the the Paralympic depart as a team on the August 8, 2021.