The Federal Government on Tuesday charged participating Nigerian athletes in the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics not to go below the six medals record set at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games held in the United States.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, set the benchmark in Abuja while inaugurating the newly constituted caretaker committees for 30 National Olympic Sports Federations.
While defending the devolution of the federations, he said that it had become necessary after the expiration of their tenures and the fact that the Tokyo Olympics was less than 90 days.
Dare said, “The caretaker committees are thus specially selected to reflect our aspirations towards podium appearances at the Tokyo Olympics.
“Nigeria has won just one medal in the last two Olympics, the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The medal, a bronze came in the football event and this is unacceptable to us as a nation. This is what we must all try to change.
“With the performances of our athletes in pre-Olympics circuit and championships, it is crystal clear we have the talents to excel at the games and even get close to our performance at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 where we won a total of six medals including the gold in the men’s football event and the women’s Long Jump.
“That benchmark is something we must not go below again and the wrangling in some of the Sports Federations going to the Olympics will not help our preparations.
“I believe what Nigerians want is for us to better our performance in 1996 and they should support whatever decisions we take that are geared towards achieving that benchmark of 1996 or even surpass it.
“My message to the caretaker committees is simple: This is not the time to play politics but the time towards putting Nigeria among the medal winners in Tokyo.”