From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Federal Government has charged Nigeria athletes representing the country in the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics not to go below the six medals record set at the 1996 Atlanta USA Olympic Games.
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, set the benchmark during the inauguration of the newly constituted Caretaker Committees for 30 National Olympic Sports Federations in Abuja on Tuesday.
Dare, in his address, defended the devolution of the federations, arguing that it has become necessary after the expiration of their tenures and fact that the Tokyo Olympics is less than 90 days.
“The Caretaker Committees are thus specially selected to reflect our aspirations towards podium appearances at the Tokyo Olympics. Nigeria has won just one medal in the last two Olympics, the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The medal, a bronze came in the football event and this is unacceptable to us as nation. This is what we must all try to change.
“With the performances of our athletes in pre-Olympics circuit and championships, it is crystal clear we have the talents to excel at the Games and even get close to our performance at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 where we won a total of six medals including the gold in the men’s Football event and the women’s Long Jump. “That benchmark is something we must not go below again and the wrangling in some of the Sports Federations going to the Olympics will not help our preparations,” he charged.