Dare Sports Minister sees Off Nigeria Relay Teams To USA


Nigeria’s preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has hit top gear as 16 athletes departed the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Thursday aboard Delta Airlines to Texas, United States of America (USA) where they will take part in some track and field meetings as they bid to qualify for the five relay events at the Games in Tokyo.

The Sixteen athletes and coaches decked in their new kits were seen off by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare.

The team had almost three weeks training in Abuja in preparation for the relay races they have been scheduled to take part in and which have been designated as qualifying events for the Olympics after missing out of the World Relays in Poland due to visa hitches.

This is Contrary to the report in a national daily which claimed Team Nigeria was stranded due to lack of funds.

“Our athletes are highly motivated to participate in various relay events in the United States contrary to a report in a national daily newspaper which claimed the team was stranded.As you can see,it is just the figment of imagination of the writer,” said Prince Niyi Beyioku, Secretary General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.

Beyioku was full of praise for the Sports Minister who facilitated the trip.

“You can see the athletes in their new kits courtesy of the Sports Minister who pressed all the buttons to make the trip a reality. The team has no financial problems.Team Nigeria Olympics preparations are on track. This is evident in what we are seeing. The advance party has fine-tuned all arrangements for a hitch free and successful mission to the USA. This is a mark of the committment of the Honourable Minister to ensure podium success in Tokyo.”

Beyioku further affirmed: “The Athletes have trained very well and are motivated to make the country proud by qualifying for all the relay events at the Olympics. All the Covid-19 protocols for a successful trip have been carried out. To underscore the importance of the trip, the Honourable Minister lived up to his promise to see the athletes off to motivate and encourage them to paste smiles on the faces of Nigerians by qualifying for the Olympics and win medals at the Games proper.”

The team would take part in its first relay on May 9th.

Nigeria women’s 4x100m relay team has provisionally qualified for the Games by virtue of being one of the two fastest nations who have taken up the two available slots after the World Relays ended Sunday in Poland.

‘What we need to do is just to run faster than our rivals and possibly overtake Brazil who occuppy the 15th slot.We have never had a team as talented as the women’s 400 relay team and we at the AFN are confident of a podium finish in Tokyo,’ added Beyioku.

The women’s 4x400m is currently ranked the 17th best in the 16-nation relay event and will need to break 3.28 to be guaranteed as place as one of the nations to fill the four available slots currently occupied by Australia,Switzerland,India and Dominican Republic.

The men’s 4x100m team is also currently ranked 17th and will need to at least break the 37.94 national record to quarantee a place among the 16 nations that will line up for the event in Tokyo while the 4x400m team must break 3.03 for the first time since 2012 to stand a chance of qualifying.

The Mixed Relay event which will be making its debut at the Games is the last relay event Nigeria is eager to qualify for and to do so,the team must break 3.16 to be guaranteed the chance of filling out for the event in Tokyo.

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Source: Complete Sport