Nigeria’s contingent to the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Jenario, Brazil will compete in in eight sporting events only, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung disclosed on Wednesday.
Dalung who expressed disappointment at the level of preparation by the country’s athletes ahead of the games however promised that efforts will be made to speed things up.
The minister also promised that the Team Nigeria contingents will be well treated financially in order to ensure better participation at the tournament.
“I was surprised when I asked officials about our preparation for the Olympics and was told that it was 40 percent as at last week and I told them it was not good enough to give us a good outing in Brazil; we need to do more to prepare the athletes,” Dalung said.
“Our plan is to present only eight sporting events at the Olympics and we are going to invest more in the sports to make sure they have good outings in Brazil.
“But if we will go beyond the eight we have now, we will look into it and see the decision we can make,” he added.
The events Nigeria will participate in during the Rio Olympics includes, men’s football, basketball, canoeing, table tennis, some track and field athletes and wrestling as well as weight lifting.
Team Nigeria, it would be recalled, participated in eight sporting events with 53 athletes at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, but failed to win a single medal for the first time in Olympic history since 1988, following poor preparations.
Although, triple jumper-Tosin Oke, the women’s sprint relay team led by Blessing Okagbare, and weightlifter Felix Ekpo managed to reach final rounds of their respective events, they failed to reach medal standings in the end.
Following the country’s woeful performance in London, former President Goodluck Jonathan demanded for a complete overhaul of Nigerian sports administration for better preparation and performance in Rio Olympics.
By Olisemeka Obeche