Nigeria targets five medals at Rio Olympics
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.