. athletes to leave in batches, July 6, 13
By Taofeek LAWAL, Abuja
The Minister of youth and sports development, Sunday Dare, has said Team Nigeria will depart for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in two batches with 61 athletes expected to fly the country’s flag in Japan next month.
Dare stated this on Monday while addressing the plenary meeting with National Sports Federations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
The minister said although the emergence of Covid-19 in 2020 affected the Olympic and the Paralympic games, the efforts of the International Federations to put things in places and addresses the issues by adjusting the calendar has eventually created avenues for athletes to participate in the fast approaching games.
“The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 affected the organisational structures of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 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, no doubt were 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 minister said,
Nigeria has qualified 61 athletes across 9 sports for the Olympics, and 22 athletes in 4 Sports for the Paralympic Games. Athletics-22, Badminton-3, Basketball-24, Canoe sprint-1, Gymnastic-1, Rowing-1, Taekwondo-1, Table Tennis-1, Wrestling-1 which sums up to 61 and for Paralympic Games – Para Athletics-5, Para Powerlifting-10, power rowing-1, Para Table Tennis-6 totaling 22.
9News Nigeria gathered that the Ministry in collaboration with the Nigerian Olympic Committee has scheduled a 14-day Pre-Games Training Camp (PGTC) for the athletes in Kisarazu , Japan. This move 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. 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 team will depart in one batch on 8th August, 2021.
According to the minister, in order to ensure a hitch-free participation in Tokyo, the Ministry had engaged four (4) 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 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 a few days,” he added.
The Games will hold from July 23 to August 8, 2021.