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Tokyo 2020: Minister confident of basketball medal after D’Tigers win over USA

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Calab Agada of Nigeria dribbles the ball during the game against the USA on July 10, 2021 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE.

Nigeria’s Youth and Sports Development Minister, Sunday Dare, has hailed the country’s men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, for pulling off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport following their victory over the world’s top-ranked team, the USA, in a pre-Tokyo Olympics opener.

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“Every single player showed up for the game and collectively the team put up a ruthless execution of basketball skills. The team matched the highly-rated American team skill for skill, shot for shot and in every department, the Nigerian team was on top of its game. Thank you, D’Tigers for again announcing Nigeria’s arrival on the basketball world with a bang.

“Nigeria and Nigerians are proud of you. As the Olympics games proper beckons in a few days we are confident in your skills and certain that you are up to the task. Just as we are sure of the female team, D’ Tigress.

“Having this morale-boosting performance on the eve of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics is a positive signal that Team Nigeria will achieve podium finishes at the Games,” said the Minister who is confident Nigeria will surpass the feat achieved in 1996 at the XXVI edition of the Games in Atlanta.

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”I am delighted with the progress our athletes are making in their respective sports and I strongly believe we will have many of our athletes in strong medal positions at this Olympics and future international global events,” said Dare, who also praised the Nigeria Basketball Federation for the progress both the D’Tigers and D’Tigress have made.

”I said it about a week ago that basketball has been on the ascendancy in Nigeria in terms of the performance of the athletes and the organisational ability of the NBBF. Now we are seeing a confirmation of what I said. The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development will continue to provide the enabling environment for sports to grow in Nigeria.”

The Minister believes sports will grow in geometrical propositions by the time the Sports Industry Policy becomes operational and several key critical stakeholders key into it.

“Last week I was in Bayelsa to watch our Olympic-bound wrestlers in their preparations for the Games,” he continued. “I was delighted not only with the commitment of the wrestlers but also that of the government of Bayelsa state who is turning the state into the wrestling capital of Nigeria.

”I saw the wrestling gym under construction and this falls in line with one of the critical components of the Sports Industry Policy which is the provision and development of infrastructures for sports,” said Dare.

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The Minister is also happy with the progress athletes in track and field are making.

”The adopt an athlete initiative has greatly helped in bridging the funding gap for the athletes and their preparations and the results we are seeing are testimonies of that,” he said

”For the first time, two home-based track and field athletes on our adoption list achieved feats not witnessed on Nigerian soil in over two decades.

”Enoch Adegoke ran 10.00 seconds to win the 100m title at the Olympic trials in Lagos. That is the fastest time ever achieved by a home-based athlete on Nigerian soil.

”Grace Nwokocha also ran 11.09 seconds in the women’s 100m. It is also the fastest time run by a home-based athlete here in Nigeria in over 20 years.”


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