As against the usual 22 sports that Nigeria had competed for in previous Olympics, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will see Nigeria competing in only 11 sports.
This was disclosed by the Honorable Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, during a sports program on Channels TV.
According to Dare, the reason why the number has been reduced was in order to ensure proper management of the athletes based on their strengths so as to ensure optimum performance.
“Unlike in the past, we competed in about 22 sports, this time around we have put a little bit of precision. We kind of looked at performances, we looked at their ratings, the points you have and we decided look! We are going to compete in just 11 sports”, he stated.
When asked about the state of preparedness of Nigeria for the event, the Minster said: “The preparation started when the last Olympic ended. They have been preparing in the last four years, what we now see is state preparations that finally puts them where they want to be in terms of training, camping, in terms of the international championships they need to attend to sharpen their skills. I think this time around, what is different is that we are working very hard to make sure that our funds are released early enough. President Muhammadu Buhari has been quite supportive, working through the Ministry of Finance, so unlike in the past, this time around we expect that the funds would be available, perhaps in another 60 days; That would be record release of funds!”.
He also disclosed that new strategy has been adopted time around to boost the athletes’ performance. “Beyond that, we have rolled out a number of initiatives, particularly the ‘adopt an athlete campaign’, which funds and supports the athlete directly. It is the hybrid of the grants for the athletes that you have in the United Kingdom, in South Africa, in Jamaica and we have seen at least 15 of our athletes benefit. We have 57 of them! We hope that in the next 30 to 40 days, we would get each of this athletes adopted”, he added.