The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare has said that going into the Games with future prospect athletes robbed Team Nigeria of winning medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Dare in a statement made available stated that Team Nigeria consists of athletes with youngest age brackets believing that will serve as advantage to finish on the podium in the subsequent international Championships.
“Most of the medal winners have been to two or more Olympics. I saw how lack of experience robbed two of our young and talented athletes medals – Elizabeth in Taekwando, Uche in Gymnastics and Esther Toko in Rowing who eventually secured a good Olympic classification. Our size this time is tight and deliberately so. Without the team sports of basketball in the male and female categories our total Athletes to the Tokyo Olympics could have been around thirty.
“Nigeria, perhaps, has one of the youngest crops of athletes at the Olympics. Out of Team Nigeria athletes, 39 of them have never been to the Olympics. They are debutants, but diamonds in the rough. About 20 are under 30. The building of the next generation of talented Nigerian athletes has just started. The focus should be on their effort and commitment and not just on medals,” Dare said.
He however noted that Nigerians were right to have high expectations in the country’s participation in the Games.
“One must always enter a race with high expectations. That’s almost a rule of the thumb in life. You start a business with the expectation that you will make lots of profit. You enter school to come out with the best honors. You compete with the expectation to win. My expectation was not too High. It was rightly so placed especially backed by data in some sports where we have High flyers and world rated Athletes such as wresting and athletics and Table Tennis. Tobi Amusan, Blessing Okagbare, Ese Brume, Divine Oduduru, and Enock Adegoke. And the dominance of our male and female basketball teams.
“These are enough tonic to get pumped up. Nigeria still has great hopes at success at this Olympics.
“As a country we want to win and we want to see our stars shine, but their value to us is not measured by single performances or competitions. Most of our athletes are young and debutants – experiencing Olympics for the first time. They remain committed patriots who gave their all and I have nothing but pride for their tenacity and commitment to deliver smiles to the faces on Nigerians. We have started building a new generation of Young Nigerian athletes. There is much hope,” the Minister assured