With less than 90-day to summer’s virus-postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo, Nigeria’s minister of youth and sports development, Mr Sunday Dare, has charged Team Nigeria’s athletes to concentrate on their preparation for podium finish at the global showpieces and not to be distracted by the squabbling in the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
The minister gave the charge on Monday when he visited some of the athletes who have been training at the Moshood National Stadium Abuja ahead of their departure for the USA on Thursday to participate in Olympics’ Relays Qualifiers.
While showering encomium on some of the athletes for their impressive performance so far, he urged them to remain focused in unity and leave self-seeking administrators with their bickering, saying Nigeria has a brighter chance of podium performance in Tokyo.
“I want to urge you not to be distracted because your own work is to run and give this country the best. Leave us with administrators and all them alone, don’t listen to their noise, focus on your training and goal ahead.
“You’re the Team Nigeria and we’ll support you. We have 87 days to the Olympics, we have started the countdown already and we are ready to make sure that you go out there in the US, have the meets, the training and the team in the US would also join you to blend together as one Team Nigeria.
“I have been monitoring your preparations and have met most of you personally. Whether you are home-based or foreign-based, Team Nigeria is one hence we decided to take you to the US to join others so that you can blend as a team,” Dare said.
He reiterated the commitment of the Sports Ministry to the athletes’ welfare, saying the Ministry has put in place a detailed programme for them where every trip, meets, timing, and their accommodation are being monitored.
The minister also made a surprise announcement after watching the home-based athletes training at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja by adopting Enock Adegoke under the ‘Adopt-an-Athlete Initiative’.
Enoch who has been in superlative form at home front thus joins the list of those that would have their training funded by private initiative. The money for the adoption would be paid directly into the athlete’s account to take care of training, feeding, medical and other essential needs that would prepare them for podium success at the Olympics.