Nigeria’s preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has hit top gear as 16 Athletes departed the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, on Thursday, for Texas where they will take part in relay qualifiers.
A statement from the media office of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, stated that the 16-member team, including coaches, decked in their new kits were seen off by the minister.
The team was camped in Abuja for three weeks, in preparation for the relay races in the U.S. which serves as qualifiers for the Olympics, the statement said.
“This came after missing out of the World Relays in Poland due to visa issue. This is contrary to the reports in a national daily which claimed team Nigeria was stranded due to lack of funds,” it said.
According to the Secretary General, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Niyi Beyioku, the athletes are highly motivated to participate in various relays in the U.S.
“Contrary to a report which claimed the team was stranded, you can see that it is not true. They are decked in their new kits, courtesy of the Minister, who pulled all the stops to make the trip a reality. The team has no financial problems.
“Team Nigeria’s Olympic preparations is on track. This is evident in what we are seeing. The advance party went ahead to fine tune all arrangements.
“This is a mark of the commitment of the Honourable Minister to ensure a hitch-free event and podium success in Tokyo,” he said.
Beyioku further affirmed that the Athletes had trained well and were motivated to make the country proud.
“All the COVID-19 protocols for a successful trip have been carried out.
“To underscore the importance of the trip, the Minister lived up to his promise to see the athletes off, to motivate them, to make Nigeria proud by qualifying for the Olympics and win medals.
“The team will take part in the first relay on May 9,” he said. (NAN)