Buhari to Hand over Team Nigeria to NOC on Monday in Abuja

- Olawale Ajimotokan ÓØ ÌßÔË President Muhammadu Buhari

is expected to play host to Team Nigeria at the Presidenti­al Villa on Monday where he would hand the Tokyo 2020 Olympicsbo­und athletes to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) in line with age long tradition.

According to the Minister of Youth and Sports Developmen­t,

Sunday Dare, “we are keeping to the tradition of unveiling the team to the President who will in turn hand them over to the Nigerian Olympics Committee.

Dare also confirmed that the President was going to unveil the official wear / equipment of the team at the ceremony.

“The unveiling of the official wear / equipment of the team will be done by Mr. President at the ceremony. This is a very symbolic event meant to officially sent forth the team to the Games.

“This should also inspire the athletes and to reinforce the fact that the Federal Government and the entire country are behind them,” observed the minister yesterday.

Earlier on Monday, Nigeria’s preparatio­ns for podium outing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games began with the departure of the first batch of the country’s contingent to Japan from Abuja.

Although the Games are not due to kick off until July 23, the first batch of Team Nigeria athletes left the Federal Capital City for the Far East nation to acclimatiz­e ahead of the Games.

According to the Director, Federation of Elites Athletes of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Developmen­t , Dr Simon Ebhojiaye, members of the canoeing team, Ayomide Bello and her coach, Ebenezer Ukwunna, Esther Toko and her coach, Regina Enofe alongside Secretary General of the Rowing and Canoeing Federation, Olubunmi Oluode, departed for Tokyo through the Nnamdi Azikiwe Internatio­nal Airport in Abuja by Ethiopian Airline.

Also in the first batch of Team Nigeria team for the Games was Mary Onyali, former African record holder in the sprint and twice Olympic medalist who is Special Adviser to the Minister of Sport.

Same Monday, an advance team of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Developmen­t departed for Tokyo via the Murtala Mohammed Internatio­nal Airport in Lagos to prepare ground to receive the Nigerian contingent.

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