Tokyo 2020 Olympics Targets: Sports Minister Is A Joker

Tokyo 2020 Olympics Targets: Sports Minister Is A Joker

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By Amaechi Agbo

The minister of youth and sports development, Mr Sunday Dare’s insistence that the team Nigerian to the July 2021 Olympic games would be successful and consequently benchmarked with the 1996 Olympic success has been described as a joke, can report.

Former Special Adviser to Kano State Government, Alhaji Gara Gombe who stated this said the benchmarking of the 2020 Olympic performance with that of the 1996 success is not only laughable but presents the minister as a joker.

Alhaji Gombe questioned the preparadness of the ministry and indeed the federal government to benchmark the outing with Atlanta 96 successes when the environment for such is not provided.

Team Nigeria at 2016 Rio Olympics.

“It is laughable and I always get amused when I hear the minister of sports, Sunday Dare, talking about sports generally in this country.

“He said he is benchmarking our outing in the forthcoming Tokyo Olympic Games to Atlanta ’96. That is a joke. A huge joke,” the former Gombe State Football Association Chairman said in a five-minute video on social media.

Mr Gombe challenged the minister to make research and find out how the successes recorded at the ’96 Olympics were prepared for.

“He should go and find out how Atlanta 1996 successes were recorded.

“Atlanta 96 successes were recorded, God bless his soul, late Chief Alexander (Opeyemi) Akinyele, the chairman of National Sports Commission then, of blessed memory. And of course, Alhassan Yakmut who was his special assistant.

“Immediately after Barcelona Olympics and the performance was not that too good, so to say, Chief Alex Akinyele, immediately he returned from Barcelona, he set up Atlanta 96 Committee headed by Alhassan Yakmut as secretary.

“In fact, he set up a Secretariat to start planning for Atlanta 96 in 1992. That is four years. Behold, that initiative, that sacrifice, that vision and foresight of that man gave us the first gold medal by a Nigerian in Atlanta. Also gave us our first football gold medal and all the other performances, in fact, Atlanta 96 is our best outing so far in the history of our participation in the Olympics.”

He questioned how serious the ministry is ahead of the quadrennial event when he had put the cart before the horse in his approaches and accused the minister of not being transparent.

“How can this joker come and be telling us he is benchmarking when you are disolving federations when we have few months to the Olympics. You are not accountable, you are not transparent. You don’t have any plan

Nigeria won gold in football event at 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, USA.

“Today you say ‘I adopt athletes’, tomorrow you say Covid-19, next tomorrow you are dissolving federations.

“Inconsistencies. No planning. Nothing. Even the camping, you don’t have stability. Even in the ministry. Within space of two years that you are appointed as minister, you changed permanent secretaries. And you want to benchmark Olympics in Tokyo with Atlanta 96, how? How would you have done that?

“Alex Akinyele was surrounded with serious and credible assistants. Not now that you go and surround yourself with an assistant who was banned for taking drugs. That is a joke,” he said.

Since making her debut in 1952 Olympics, Nigeria has participated in 17 Summer Olympic Games winning 25 medals – 3 gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze.

Nigeria won her first gold in Atlanta 96 Olympics winning gold medals in long jump and football events.

In 2008, following the International Olympic Committee’s decision to strip the American 4 × 400 metre relay team of their medals after Antonio Pettigrew confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs, Nigeria team which came second were awarded the gold medal.

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