Nige­ria tar­gets five medals at Rio Olympics

Daily Trust - - SPORT - By Joshua Odeyemi

The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has said it was expecting at least five medals from its ath­letes to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next month.

The Min­is­ter of Youth and Sports Solomon Dalung dis­closed this while ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence at the Abuja Na­tional Sta­dium yes­ter­day to in­ti­mate the media on the level of prepa­ra­tion by Team Nige­ria to the Games.

“At worst, we should come back home with not less than five medals but we are tar­get­ing ten or 15,” he said.

Against spec­u­la­tions in some quar­ters that Nige­ria may not take part in the sport­ing fi­esta as a re­sult of paucity of funds, Dalung who said Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari was com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing the coun­try’s flag fly at Rio, af­firmed that “Nige­ria is par­tic­i­pat­ing in Rio 2016.”

The min­is­ter said 95 ath­letes have al­ready qual­i­fied for par­tic­i­pa­tion at the Olympics while some oth­ers were still tak­ing part in qual­i­fy­ing se­ries.

Dalung said the ath­letes were presently un­der­go­ing train­ing ahead of the Games, deny­ing that the paucity of fund was af­fect­ing their prepa­ra­tion.

“I do not think that we have a low stan­dard. We have tied prepa­ra­tion to money. Though money is needed, but the most car­di­nal thing about prepa­ra­tion for a com­pe­ti­tion is to be able to iden­tify peo­ple who have the pas­sion and com­mit­ment to make Nige­ria proud.

“I think those ath­letes so far, that have par­tic­i­pated in those com­pe­ti­tion and won medals in such com­pe­ti­tions can go any­where in the world and com­pete. When I went to the camps to see our ath­letes, I was amazed at what they do­ing”, he said.

The min­is­ter as­sured that the coun­try was do­ing its best to as­sure that ath­letes com­ply with anti-dop­ing rules.

“For now, we have noth­ing yet in­di­cat­ing the break­ing of dop­ing rules. How­ever, we will not re­lent in our ef­forts. We will con­tinue to mon­i­tor them to make sure they stay on line,” he stressed.

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