Sunday Dare, Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sports Development, says members of the country’s Olympic team are not in the Tokyo Games to make up the numbers.
Speaking at a brief ceremony organised by Ethiopian Airlines to send forth the minister at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, in Abuja, on Tuesday, Dare said: “We are grateful to the Federal Government, corporate Nigeria and all those who supported Team Nigeria by adopting our athletes. I want Nigerians to wish Team Nigeria the very best as we compete with the very best in the world at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” said the Sports Minister who affirmed the Olympics is the biggest sporting stage in the world.
“There will be 205 countries with over 11,000 athletes from around the world participating, which validates the Olympics as the biggest sporting event in the world.”
Dare insists Team Nigeria athletes in Tokyo have been primed to make podium finishes.
“The fact that we have a team of 58 athletes that qualified to participate, some of whom are the very best in their events, shows that this country is going to Tokyo not just to show up but to compete clean and win medals.”
Dare also thanked Ethiopia Airlines for successfully airlifting Team Nigeria to the Games and believes it will be celebration galore on the return flight to Abuja after the Games.
The Minister also called on Nigerians to pray for the contingent.
Nigeria has participated in all the Olympics, except the 1976 edition in Montreal, since making its debut in 1952 in Helsinki. The country recorded its best outing at the 1996 Atlanta Games where a total of six medals made up of two gold, one silver and three bronze medals were won.