Owivri Edirin, a long and triple jumps coach in Delta, on Monday appealed to corporate organisations to assist the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) in achieving its podium finish goal in Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Edirin told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone in Lagos that for Nigeria to excel at the Olympics, investors needed to assist in the preparation.
“If we want to make the podium in Tokyo 2020, then investors should come in and partner with the AFN so that the target set can be met.
“These athletes needs a lot more than people in Nigeria think, the athletes need conducive training environment, modern training facilities, the latest training and competition kits.
“They also need proper nutrition and adequate feeding, incentives, medical team of doctors, physiotherapists, masure and psychologist etc. For us to win medals, such things need to be put in place,” he said.
Edirin, who coaches Oritsemeyiwa Ineh, a Youth Olympics triple jump silver medallist, said that the country was blessed with talents but finance was a major hindrance after discovering many of the athletes.
“We have always had talents who can be worked on by doing the needed things, like providing a conducive environment for training, and training kits.
“And proper nutrition as related to athletics and assistance in academics too,” he said.
Reacting to the importance accorded to sprints, he urged field athletes to remain steadfast and committed.
“For rookie athletes, they should always put God first, like wise all of us, they should love what they are doing even when the gains have not started coming.
“They should stay focused and faithful to themselves, believing that they will be favoured if they don’t quit,” he said.
He also encouraged parents who do not see sports as yielding positively to be open-minded.
“Parents who do not see any good in sports should try to be open minded, encourage their children to take part in sports. Even if they think it does not pay, health-wise it pays.
“Nevertheless, the taste of the pudding is in the eating, by the time they see more sportsmen and women around them as bread winners.
“I believe they will have a change of heart,” he said.