Dare assures athletes of adequate care ahead of Tokyo 2020
Sunday Dare has assured Nigerian athletes preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that their welfare would not be negotiable.
The athletes are preparing for both the African Athletics Championships in Algeria and the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Addressing track and field athletes in Akure at the weekend at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) All-Comers competition, Dare, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media, John Joshua-Akanji, said he would create a safe environment for the athletes to train and compete.
“Government is determined to ensure rapid development of sports in Nigeria, as it is not only a unifying factor but also generates employment.
“This is why welfare of athletes, especially their off-field environmental, which has been taken for granted for so long, will be given priority attention,” said Dare. The Sports Minister acknowledged that prompt payment of allowances and training grants were key to success in sports, and assured that athletes would no longer be owed allowances either in part or in full again.
“I am sure you are all aware of the adopt a talent programme we have introduced. It is for all categories of athletes, whether foreign or home based.
“I am sure one or two people here have benefitted from it. I can assure you we are expanding the net to capture more athletes,” Dare promised, adding that government all over the world partnered with individuals and corporate bodies to develop sports. “This is what we are doing. Gone are the days when athletes wait till competition venue to get training grants that ended up to be counter productive.
“I am impressed with what I have seen here and I can assure you that we will encourage the Athletics Federation of Nigeria to provide more competitions for you to keep you busy, evaluate your performances and ensure the needed growth is achieved.
“The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development will also provide the necessary support to the AFN to ensure a smooth and efficient administration of the sport. We will not interfere in the day-to-day running of the administration of the AFN. We will only collaborate and provide the necessary intervention especially when the team is going for international competitions where they will be representing Nigeria.”
The AFN All-Comers witnessed a huge turn out of athletes who expressed their appreciation to the federation for giving them a quality event to assess how far they have gone in their training as they prepare for two major events this year.
Enoch Adegoke, Emmanuel Arowolo, Favour-Ofili, Ifeanyi Ojeli, Joy Udo-Gabriel, Oyeniyi Abejoye and a host of other national athletes, who represented Nigeria at the African Games in Rabat, Morocco, last year, gave glimpses of what Nigerians should expect this year.
Meanwhile, the AFN has debunked rumours that the few athletes who attended the illegal competition in Ozoro in Delta state will be sanctioned.
“That is just a figment of imagination of people who are bent on distracting us, but we are focused,” said president of the AFN, Olamide George.
“The very few athletes who were in Ozoro travelled over night to Akure to participate in our All-Comers competition after realising they had been misled into going to Ozoro,” he said.
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