Nigeria Relay Team Have Not Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympics
By Amaechi Agbo
The Athletic Federation of Nigeria, AFN has disclosed that Nigeria is has not qualified for the relay race for the 2020 Olympic Games scheduled to hold from 23 July to 8 August, 2021.
The Technical Director, Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, Sunday Adeleye told Bestchoicesports.com.ng that despite Nigeria qualifying for individual events for the Olympics, the relay team are yet to play qualifiers.
“We ought to have competed and qualified. We ought to have put these athletes together and prepare them to compete for competitions. But the reverse is the case where there is no support to take care of that. But we have actually put things in place we are talking about competitions. We have gotten approval to host two international competitions in Nigeria which will help us to qualify,” hesaid.
Mr Adeleye enumerated the international competitions Nigeria has gotten approval to host to include the Africa Region 2 and the International Ground Prix which will both hold in March and April.
“But we hear some people saying that Nigeria needs to travel out to qualify, go here and there and compete. If you cannot compete in the one you have approval on, why do we have to waste resources? Now we have enough athletes that are home-based, we need to encourage them.
“It is known that we have challenges always in getting visa to travel out especially with COVID-19 situation across the world. If we are hosting two international competitions in our own country, we are not going to have the visa issues as well as immigration stress, passport and ticket challenges too.
“The competitions offer us opportunities to try some of our athletes here in the country and see what can come out of it. We can entre A and B relay groups and see the outcome. It is a lot cheaper for us to host the competitions but until now we are still waiting.”
We are monitoring the athletes – Minister
Meanwhile, the minister of youth and sports, Sunday Dare has disclosed that the ministry is monitoring the progress of the athletes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking in an interview with Bestchoicesports.com.ng in Abuja, the Special Assistance to the Minister John Joshua Akanji said that the ministry is not unmindful of the situation adding that athletes are being monitored and encouraged to do take their trainings seriously.
“Last year, the minister instructed that the athletes should be in camp and that is why we had camping in Lagos, Plateau, Port Harcourt and Akure just to kickstart the preparations of the Olympics.
“By and large, we are hoping that there will be a continuation this year for the home-based athletes. For the most of the foreign-based athletes, there are Meets in Europe where they are partaking. They are also taking part in classics in their schools as for some of them that are in school.
“We are monitoring the athletes’ progress to ensure that they are in tiptop shape, injury free and adequately mentally and physically prepared for the Olympic proper after they might have qualified,” he said.