Former Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi has charged Nigeria’s track and field team to the delayed 2020 Okympic Games to aim high for the gold medals on offer in their respective events.
Mikel made the charge Sunday evening at the Southern Sun hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos where he dined with some of the athletes who have qualified to represent Nigeria at the quadrennial games.
“I am happy to be in the midst of you guys. I know you are going to a major tournament which I have been to and I know what it takes to be there and to compete there and to try to win something for our great nation,”said the mercurial midfielder who now plays his club football with Stoke City in the English Skybet Championship.
“It’s my pleasure to be here tonight to wish you guys all the best and hopefully, you will bring back all the gold medals at the Olympics,” said Mikel who captained Nigeria to a bronze medal finish in the football event at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“So when you guys come back, we will celebrate with you, cheer with and I wish you guys all the very best and good luck,” he further said.
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare hosted the track and field athletes to the dinner to thank them for making the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Olympic Trials a huge success.
Also present were the President of the AFN Tonobock Okowa, former president of the federation Evangelist Solomon Ogba and some board members of the AFN.
Among the athletes who were present at the dinner are African long jump record holder Ese Brume, sprint hurdler Tobi Amusan, sprinters Ushoritse Itsekiri, Grace Nwokocha, Favour Ofili, Amarachukwu Obi and throwers Oyesade Olatoye, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, Chioma Onyekwere and Dotun Ogundeji.
Also at the dinner three former Olympians who won two medals each for Nigeria at the Games.
Mary Onyali won a bronze in the women’s 4x100m at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics and another bronze in the 200m event four years later in Atlanta.
Falilat Ogunkoya made history at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics when she won a bronze medal in the 400m event which made her the first Nigerian track and field athlete to win an individual medal at the Games. She also anchored the 4x400m team to a silver medal finish.
Enefiok Udobong anchored the men’s 4x400m relay team to gold in Sydney 2000 and bronze four years later in Athens, Greece.