July 27, 2021


Africa's Media Giant

Tokyo 2020: You carry hopes of millions, Osinbajo tells Team Nigeria




By Chijioke Okoronkwo

Vice President Yemi  Osinbajo has urged the Nigerian team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to put in their best as they represent the hopes and aspirations of millions of Nigerians.

Osinbajo made the call on Monday at the send-off ceremony for Team Nigeria, formal handover of the Nigerian contingent to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and unveiling of the team’s official kit.

The event was held at the State House Conference Hall, Abuja.

The vice president told the athletes that their performance at the tournament would be an opportunity to immortalise themselves.

“I am delighted to welcome here today the very best of the best Nigerian Athletes.; the great Nigerian team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics; 58 outstanding athletes and 18 world class coaches.

“When the Games begin on July 23, you will, as Team Nigeria, be joining other athletes from over 210 countries and territories of the world in the biggest and the most spectacular sporting event on the planet – the Olympic Games.

“Every one of you participating in the games is opening a page in history for yourself, your families, your community and the nation.

“Your performance at the games will inscribe your names in national and world sporting history;  you carry the hopes and aspirations of millions as you compete in Tokyo.

“But you will in this endeavor have the assurance of the prayers and best wishes of all Nigerians.”

The vice president implored the team to be motivated by the great exploits   of former Nigerian Olympians.

He cited Chioma Ajunwa who won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics for the long jump and became the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event.

Osinbajo also made reference to the Nigerian Olympic football team that won gold at Atlanta 96.

” The Super  Eagles in 1996 who   won the gold medal for football, that was the team that had the greats, Augustine Okocha, Celestine Babayaro , Daniel Amokachi , Sunday Oliseh, Taribo West  Kanu Nwankwo, Abiodun Obafemi, Emmanuel Amuneke , Emmanuel Babayaro , Garba Lawal , Joseph Dosu , Kingsley Obiekwu , Mobi Obaraku , Uche Okechukwu , Teslim Fatusi , Tijani Babangida, Victor Ikpeba , and Wilson Oruma,.

“That was the year we defeated the world best foot balling nations, Argentina and Brazil and we all held our heads high.

“And for anyone who thinks we are joking maybe they haven’t seen our exhibition basketball game on Saturday with the USA team especially that amazing block by Precious Achiuwa against KD {Kevin Durant} who is probably the best player in the NBA right now.

“So, Precious, you are the real MVP.

“And in the year 2000 in Sydney, again we beat the best in the world.

” We won the gold in  4 × 400 metres relay after the American team was disqualified for using performance enhancing drugs, that was the team which had Clement Chukwu, the late Sunday Bada, Enefiok Udo-Ubong, Jude Monye, and  two other members of the team Fidelis Gadzama and Nduka Awazie.”

He commended the work done and still being done by the staff and management of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Osinbajo also lauded the various sporting federations for developing the talents to enable Nigeria to participate in nine different sports.

“I understand that you are departing first to the city of Kizarazu in continuation of your pre-games training before your participation in the Olympic Games.

“I think you should make good  use of this window  to prime yourselves fully for the competition.

“We must also commend the Nigeria Olympic Committee, under the leadership of Engr. Habu Gumel and the International Olympic Committee, under the Leadership of Mr  Thomas Bach as well as the Government and good people of Japan for their determination to host the 2020 Olympic Games in spite of the global challenge posed by the Coronavirus pandemic,’’ he said.

Earlier, Gumel, in his acceptance speech reassured that the NOC would be worthy ambassadors of Nigeria throughout the stay in Japan.

According to him, all athletes and officials have all received their full jabs of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Miss Odunayo Adekoroye, who will be competing in wrestling, told State House correspondents that Team Nigeria was going to the Tokyo Games as a disciplined and patriotic group and would not tarnish the image of country.

She said she hopeful that the team would win multiple medals for Nigeria. (NAN)

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