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Adopt-an-athlete campaign will boost Team Nigeria’s chances at Tokyo Olympics, says Igali

By Samuel Ifetoye
19 December 2019   |   4:11 am
President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), Daniel Igali has hailed the adopt an athlete campaign initiative of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development...

Igali

President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation (NWF), Daniel Igali has hailed the adopt an athlete campaign initiative of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, saying it would boost Nigeria’s medals prospect at next year’s Tokyo Olympics in Japan.

The sports ministry had on Monday launched the first Adopt Campaign in Lagos, where individuals and corporate bodies were urged to adopt an athlete they would prepare for success at the Tokyo Olympics. Such individuals and corporate bodies are expected to commit $20,000 for a foreign-based athlete’s preparations for the games, and $10,000 for a home-based athlete.

Igali described the idea as a noble one that would increase the country’s medals prospects and also enable the athletes to work harder in order to reach the pinnacle at the Games.

“The idea by the Sports Minister is a very ingenious one and if well managed, it will work out well for Team Nigeria at the Olympics. Nigeria has never won a medal at the Olympics in wrestling, but I think this is the best opportunity that we have.

“For instance, we have three medal prospects in the Nigerian wrestling team that on a good day can stand on the podium. My belief is that if we do the right thing from now till August next year, Nigeria stands a very good chance of winning medals at the Tokyo Olympics, especially in wrestling,” the Bayelsa State commissioner said.

Explaining the Adopt Campaign of the ministry in Lagos on Monday, Dare said it had become imperative because of the recent decline in the performances of Team Nigeria at major international competitions due mainly to funding, adding that it was impossible for the government alone to provide the needed funds, hence the call for individuals and corporate bodies’ support.

“The idea behind the Adopt Campaign is to boost the support that the ministry and the country gives our athletes.

“We also want Nigerians, both individuals and corporate bodies to be part of the Olympics spirit, to be stakeholders in our sports.

“The Adopt Campaign focuses on providing targeted support for each of the potential medal winning athletes,” he said, adding that one of the reasons the athletes failed to live up to expectations was inadequate preparation.

“Whatever the athletes get from this adopt campaign will create an organic relationship between the athlete and the organisation or individual adopting him. The bane of our preparation has been a number of factors. One is not starting early enough and I think this time around we’ve started at least taking the step that are critical to chart a part to victory.

“We’ve announced the sports we are going to concentrate on, which are 11 of them, and we are already engaging directly with the athletes that have qualified and the teams that have qualified. We are looking directly at the issue of technical depth, the question of coaching, camping, training, and the trials that they need.

“We are focusing on the details now in a very timely fashion. And after Lagos, we will go to Abuja to do the same adoption campaign and then to Port Harcourt. By the time we are through, Nigerians will join the Olympics spirit and then the athletes will get the support they need to excel in Tokyo,” he stated.