By Muhyideen Jimoh
The African Children Talent Discovery Foundation (ACTDF), an international non-governmental organisation (NGO), has “adopted” two Tokyo Olympics-bound Nigerian athletes, quarter-miler Patience Okon-George and taekwondo star Elizabeth Anyanacho.
Noah Dallaji, Chairman of ACTDF, said on Friday in Abuja that the adoption was part of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development’s “Adopt an Athlete” initiative.
At at brief ceremony at the ministry, Dallaji said the adoption would ensure adequate preparations for the athletes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
He said the foundation decided to sponsor the two athletes in order to boost their chances of a podium finish at the Tokyo Olympics.
“I am just meeting Patience Okon-George for the first time and that’s one of our policies, we adopt based on merit.
“Nigeria is the greatest country in Africa. So, our expectation is that our athletes will win medals for us at the Tokyo Olympics Games,” Dallaji said.
Earlier, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, had said the “adopt-an-athlete” policy was a collaboration with the private sector and state governments.
He said it was designed to ensure proper welfare and preparation for Nigerian athletes.
“The Ministry is going to use Dallaji as a sign-post for several other Nigerians who have the capacity and resources to lift a hand in support of Nigerian athletes,” the minister said.
Dare said government alone cannot fund sports and stressed the need for the private sector to show more commitment in this regard like is being done in developed countries.
The minister expressed optimism that with the form of Nigerian athletes at the moment and adequate preparations, Team Nigeria would do well at the Olympics.
Okon-George, in her remarks, thanked the Foundation and the Sports Ministry for the initiative, stressing that the move would spur her to glory.
NAN reports that ACTDF is adopting the two Olympics-bound athletes to the tune of $10,000 dollars (about N5 million) each to boost their Olympics preparations.
The Foundation had on its entourage for the ceremony sports legends such as Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Babayaro, Tijani Babangida, amongst others.
The rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games holds from July 23 to Aug. 8. (NAN)