President Goodluck Jonathan says Nigeria must surpass its 1996 performance in the forth coming London Olympic Games.
Nigeria had its best Olympics outing in the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games hosted by the US.
Jonathan gave the charge in Abuja at the Grand Patron’s Dinner organised in his honour by the Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC).
Represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, the President charged the participants to step up their preparations to enable them performs well at the games.
He said the government had ensured that the National Sports Commission and the NOC secured first-class pre-games training facilities in Surrey, UK for their final preparation for the games.
According to him, Nigeria has the potential to achieve more in sports; given the nation’s human resources and sports talents.
He further stated that the government would continue to play statutory role in developing sports in Nigeria, within the limits of its resources.
Jonathan, however, noted that without the support of Nigerians and corporate organisations, it would be difficult for the country to achieve its full potential in sports.
“We have to rally round the NOC to enable it contribute significantly in upholding the ideals of Olympism of higher, stronger, faster games devoid of all forms of doping,” he said.
In his remark, the Minister of Sports, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, assured that Nigeria's contingent at the games would do the nation proud.
The President of the NOC, Mr Sani Ndanusa, had earlier thanked the Federal Government, official partners and supporters for their efforts in seeing that Nigeria secured more medals at the global fiesta.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the President was decorated as the Grand Patron of NOC at the occasion, while the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ade Abolurin, bagged the ``Nigeria’s Icon of Sports Development’’ honour.
Solidarity messages were delivered by corporate organisations which pledged to assist and support the Nigerian participants at the games.
The Niger government announced a donation of N2 million to NOC at the occasion.
Nigeria Olympic Committee was established in 1951 and the country debuted in the Olympics a year after.
Nigeria won her first Olympic medal in 1964 and the country has so far won a total of 23 medals in the global sports events. (NAN)