Team Nigeria’s captain, Aruna Quadri, has exonerated the minister of youth and sports development, Sunday Dare, of any blame for the performance of the country’s athletes so far at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
Aruna, who surprisingly bowed out of the competition on Tuesday after a 4-2 (15-13, 9-11, 6-11, 11-7, 7-11, 5-11) defeat to Brazilian Gustavo Tsuboi, said the Minister did his best to provide all the necessary instruments and motivations requires for the athletes excel at the Games.
“To tell the truth, the minister of youth and sports development has really done well. I have played for 12 years in three Games – All African Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics – but in all of these years, no minister has done the positive work this present Minister has done.
“For instance, he embarked on the idea of ‘adopt-an-athlete’ and several athletes here were adopted. It is a motivation to these athletes. So, he has done everything to put us (athletes) in a positive position and right frame of mind for this competition. But of course, sometimes you have all the materials you need and it doesn’t work for you.
“For me, the minister has done well but it was not meant for some of us here to succeed, and of course it is not over yet. We can still do better in other events,” Aruna said.
Aruna, who spoke to LEADERSHIP Sports at the Tokyo 2020 Games’ village, blamed his defeat to the Brazilian to ill-luck and expressed confidence that Team Nigeria will still do well in other events.
“I felt disappointed and sad but it is not the end of the world. It was not a do or die away. Though, sometimes you really want to do well and it doesn’t go your way. So, you just have to think how to correct your mistakes and do well in other tournaments.
“We’re not just individuals, but a team and that is why we have to continue to work together and ensure better results. Yes, we lost in table tennis but we still have other events and we are praying for them to do well so that we can all be happy in the end.
“We’re 60 athletes all together and all of us must not go home with medals. This is normal in sports and part of the games.
“I just want to thank Nigerians for supporting us and I believe they understand that in sports sometimes it is about winning. You win some and lose some