Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, said Team Nigeria had been “silently” preparing for the Tokyo Olympics Games.
Dare told newsmen at the two-day meet organised by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) that not all preparatory processes were being publicised.
“Preparations are ongoing at various levels, but some of these will not make it to the pages of the newspapers and the media and it’s deliberate too.
“We have several plans running almost concurrently too, for our foreign-based athletes and home-based athletes. But not all of these will be in the newspapers.
“And just this last week, eight other Olympic-bound athletes were adopted too and you know what that means. That’s a plus. We had five or six adopted before COVID-19 last year. It became a bit difficult after COVID-19 because it took so long because people lost a lot of money and revenue.
“But just last week we had about eight adopted, bringing the total to about 15. We hope that we can adopt about 40 of them to make a difference,” he said.
The 2020 Olympics have been rescheduled for July 23 to Aug. 8.
Dare, who hailed the performance of athletes at the AFN event, assured that the country‘s sports authorities were working day and night ahead of the Olympics.
He noted that the two-day meet was impressive as momentum was being gained ahead of the Olympics.
The minister added that he was happy that young athletes were setting personal best records with excitement and a higher spirit of competitiveness.
“I think the two-day meet we have had in Akure is good. I followed what happened yesterday (Saturday), and I think we are gaining momentum as regards the Olympics.
“But what gladdens my heart is the young athletes setting personal records. One can see the excitement, the competitiveness, and I think the future of Nigeria in the track and field event is great.”
He added that it would be his greatest moment for the 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF) holds.
Dare said it would be in the interest of the country’s sports development and would be a great factor for the Olympics in July.
Embattled factional president of AFN, Olamide George, said the body would continue to assess the readiness of home-based athletes ahead of the Olympics through competitions, while also discovering new talents.
George said several athletes have continued with their blistering form by posting good times, especially Enoch Adegoke who recorded an impressive 10.38 seconds in the 100 metres.
Speaking to newsmen, Adegoke who is currently the fastest man in the country said he was not under any form of the pressure of his record being broken by another sprinter.
“I am not under pressure to beat anybody. I am just under pressure to beat my own record. I trust my coaches on the ground and I believe in God,” he said.