Athletics will give Nigeria three medals at Tokyo Olympics, says Kaita
• Sponsors Abuja Relays, marathon in Katsina
Sports philanthropist and board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Ahmed Isa Kaita is optimistic that the nation’s athletics contingent would be successful in three events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Kaita, who replaced Solomon Ogba on the AFN after his resignation insisted that the chances of Nigeria winning three medals in Tokyo was bright. He told The Guardian during the AFN Classic at Ado Ekiti that Nigerian athletes had demonstrated that with good preparations, they would deliver at the Olympics.
“I am really optimistic that our athletes will be able to make Nigeria proud in Tokyo,” Kaita said. “I am not going to be drawn into naming the events our medals will come from, but from what I have seen so far, once they are able to feature in the final of any event in Tokyo, anything can happen.”
While extolling the prowess of home based athletes in their efforts to meet the Olympic qualifying standards, Kaita noted that with the right preparation, Team Nigeria’s athletes have ability to raise the bar at the world stage.
“We are glad the AFN has started on a brilliant note in organising competitions for the home-based athletes. There will be more competitions ahead. After the Ado Ekiti, the National Sports festival rolls in, and shortly after that, there would be the Abuja National Relay Champions in April, which I will sponsor. There are others international competitions our athletes will participate in preparations before the Olympics,” he stated.
Kaita, who hails from Katsina state has a track record of sponsoring and organizing athletics competitions in his home state. He had also used sports as an empowerment tool to impact on youths with sporting talents in Katsina and other states through the award of scholarships and financial empowerment for high performance after competitions.
“I live among these talented youths and since sports have a way of taking talented youths off the street, I decided to organise sports activities within and outside Katsina and today, most of the youths are happy to have made something meaningful through their talents. About 30 of them are on scholarships in various institutions in Nigeria.”
Those of us in the North have a special case in the fact that we have large reservoir of indigent youth population who are mostly idle. When America had this problem, they started constructing basketball courts in schools and making sure that every youth was engaged in one sporting activity or the other. This is my idea for youths in the North. Hopefully, I have plans to take the idea to Northern zones in the future,” he stated.
The marathon race in Katsina is another event Kaita relishes and would want to be the first to organise it up North.
“We have plans to take marathon races to the North and organize it for Nigeria runners only with attractive price money. We are planning to run a zonal competition in the North that will include states like Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Kaduna and Kano.