Team Nigeria will depart for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in two batches with 61 athletes flying the country’s flag.
The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development made this disclosure on Monday during a plenary meeting with National Sports Federations whose athletes qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
According to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 affected the organisational structures of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“This consequently pushed International Federations (IFs) to review their international sporting calendar and qualification pathway for athletes in their quest to participate at the Games.
“These challenges, no doubt, were difficult to overcome, but could not stop us as a great nation in ensuring that our athletes are strongly supported and motivated to achieve this milestone.”
The minister thanked the national federations and their officials that made Team Nigeria qualify in the various events at Tokyo 2020.
“Specifically, I thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his immense support in approving and ensuring that funds were released to enable our athletes to attend series of qualification tournaments.
“As of today, Nigeria has qualified 61 athletes across nine sports for the Olympics, and 22 athletes in four Sports for the Paralympic Games, which are: Athletics-22, Badminton-3, Basketball-24, Canoe sprint-1, Gymnastic-1, Rowing-1, Taekwondo-1, TableTennis-1, Wrestling-1 which sums up to 61 and for Paralympic Games we have; Para Athletics-5, Para Powerlifting-10, power rowing-1, Para Table Tennis-6 summing up to 22.”
The Minister further said: “The recent qualification of Nigeria for the Women’s 4x100m, Women’s 4x400m and 4x400m Mixed Relays was a significant achievement for the country, while still awaiting the World Athletics (WA) to ratify the slots in a few days.”
He revealed that the Ministry in collaboration with the Nigerian Olympic Committee has scheduled a 14-day Pre-Games Training Camp (PGTC) for the athletes in Kisarazu, Japan.
“This move is to further expose the athletes to adequate preparations ahead of their events as well as to give them ample time to adjust to the Japanese time zone. It is also strategic to meet with Covid-19 regulations.”
For the Olympic Games, the first batch of Team Nigeria athletes is scheduled to depart for Kisarazu on 6th July 2021 while the second batch will also depart for Japan on 13th July 2021.
The paralympic Teams are scheduled to depart for Japan in one batch on 8th August 2021.
The Minister said in order to ensure hitch-free participation in Tokyo, the Ministry had engaged four Travel Agencies to handle flight tickets of Team Nigeria Contingents.
”As the Games are gradually approaching, I feel it would be necessary for us to finalize on our strategies towards ensuring podium success at both the Olympics and the Paralympic Games,” the Minister concluded.