With Team Nigeria’s inability to rise up to befitting performance at the on-going Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the country’s minister of sports, Solomon Dalung, has called for a re-focus and forward planning towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, promising Nigerian athletes better preparations ahead.
Reacting to questions in Rio after Nigerian athletes in boxing, table tennis, rowing, wrestling and others failed to achieve a podium finish, the Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung explained that the results in Rio were a reflection of the level of preparations for the games.
“It takes a minimum plan of 4 years to prepare for an Olympics. We have seen that the likes of Divine Oduduru, Blessing Okagbare, Aruna Quadri, Efe Ajagba, Ese Brume, Chierika Ukogu and others would have made the desired impact if we had done the needful after the London 2012 misadventure. Success in sports no longer depends on skills and determination. Sports has gone scientific. It is time now to develop sports from the grassroots using sports science. It is not just to compete but we need to be in tune with modern day sports. We can also start to develop other sports like water sports, gymnastics, long distance races, etc”
Dalung promised to establish a system that will enable early preparations for the next games.
“We are going to put in place a structure that will enable us to start early preparations for the next Olympics which must include provision of equipment and facilities. We must ensure that all stakeholders including the Nigeria Olympic Committee, the sports Federations, zones , state and local government councils are incorporated in our quest to excel in future. The corporate world will also be taken into cognizance.
We will kick start our preparations for Tokyo 2020 when I meet with all federations’ presidents to do a review and submit extensive programs which will prepare us for Tokyo 2020.”
Barrister Dalung also commended the Dream Team VI despite losing 0-2 to Germany in one of the semi-finals of the football event.
“The team did their best and gave their all. They were determined to make history once again but unfortunately, they could not convert their chances. All hope is not lost as we’ll work hard to take the bronze” Dalung concluded.