13 athletes qualify for Tokyo, ministry prunes events to 11
• Dare lists benefits of adopt-an-athlete initiative
The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has assured Nigerians of its total commitment to the welfare of athletes as exemplified by the adopt-an-athlete initiative.
The ministry said putting the athletes’ welfare, as the top priority was the only way Nigeria would excel at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.So far, 13 Nigerians have qualified for the individual and team events of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games through various routes.
The athletes are Ese Brume (Women’s long jump), Amusan Tobi (Women’s 100m hurdle), Blessing Okagbare (Women’s 100m/200m), Divine Oduduru (Men’s 100m/200m), Raymond Okevwo (Men’s 100m), Utseorise Itsekiri (Men’s 100m) and Chukwuemeka Enekechi (Men’s shot put).
The others are Adekuroye Odunayo (57kg Women’s Weightlifting), D’Tigers (Men’s basketball), D’ Tigress (Women’s basketball), Bello Ayomide (Women’s C1 canoe), Toko Esther (Women’s single sculls) and Elizabeth Ayanacho (Women’s Taekwondo).
Speaking on the success of the adopt-an-athlete initiative, the Minister, Sunday Dare said: “As I speak with you, athletes have got their money from their adopters. It is really an organic process and ours is to supervise the process.”Dare said Team Nigeria “is ready for Tokyo 2020 because the team has been preparing in the last four years.
“What we now see is the state of preparation that finally puts them where they want to be in terms of training, camping and attendance of international championships to sharpen their skills.
“We are working very hard to ensure that funds are released early enough for the team.” The Minister revealed that Nigeria would compete in 11 sports as against the 22 that took part at the last Olympics in Rio 2016. “We want to ensure that resources are channelled where the country has comparative advantage. “Since Nigerian athletes would compete against the best in the world, there is the need for early camping. “We won’t compromise on standard, hence all hands are on deck to ensure a good outing in Tokyo. Nigeria deserves only the best.”
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