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Sports Minister: Nigeria will focus on medal prospects at Tokyo Olympics

Sports minister Sunday Dare has insisted that Nigeria will compete in only sports in which the country has medal prospects at the Olympics in Tokyo. 

The Tokyo Olympics will be held in July and August 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the organisers to postpone the event by one year. 

Dare says preparing and leveraging on sports where Nigeria has the comparative advantage of excelling at the Olympics will be the focus. 

 “The Olympics are less than six months away and we have started camping our athletes to get them to full fitness ahead of the Tokyo Olympics,” the minister said. 

“From 2021 we will commence a more robust camping with some athletes going abroad to train with their foreign-based counterparts.” 

Athletes have already had a first camping exercise in Pankshin, Plateau State, Lagos and Abuja while the second phase camping ended on 23 December 2020.

Lagos, Bayelsa, Port Harcourt and Abuja were the locations for the second phase. 

 “We started the pre-Olympics camping early to ensure that the athletes that will be representing the country in the Tokyo Olympics put up podium performances,” the minister added.  

Dare revealed that Team Nigeria will be going to the Olympics with just 11 sports. 

“We need to compete with other nations to win and not to complete the numbers. We have decided to focus on 11 sports where we have a comparative advantage,” the minister explained. 

Nigeria had a squad of 77 athletes competing in 10 sports at the Rio 2016 Olympics but won only one medal: bronze in men’s football. 

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be held in the Japanese capital from 23 July to 8 August, 2021.

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