Ministry of Youth and Sports has concluded preparations for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. In a meeting held on Tuesday with the 10 Federations’ Presidents whose athletes will be taking part in the Games, the list of participating athletes were scrutinised and evaluated.
The Federations are Athletics, Basketball, Wrestling, Weightlifting, Boxing, Table Tennis, Gymnastics, Para table tennis, Para Athletics and Para Powerlifting.
In his opening remarks, the Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung said the meeting with the 10 Federations was to scrutinize and defend the athletes participation at the Games, evaluate their prospects and finalise arrangements for the last phase of training before the games.
“This is a down to earth meeting on our level of preparation. It is to convince me on how we will win medals based on the preparations we have made so far. The meeting is intended for the federations to defend the athletes they are presenting to us that we will be taking to this competition. Therefore, we must review and reappraise the level of our preparations and look at those grey areas which may be a cog in the wheel to a successful outing in Australia.”
At the meeting, the factional Vice President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation Babs Ogunade said that due to the unavailability of their professionals at this time due to the on-season, the US based players will only be available for camping two weeks to the opening of the Games village.
Wrestling will be represented by 6 male and 6 female wrestlers. The President, Daniel Igali expressed confidence that his wrestlers will perform creditably following their performance at the recently concluded African Wrestling Championship in Rivers State. Igali however opted to train in Nigeria which he said will augur well for the team’s training program. The team will depart for Australia on March 2, 2018.
The Weightlifting Federation, fresh from the qualifiers in Uganda also boasts of a Nigerian referee who will officiate at the Commonwealth Games. They will be represented by 2 male and 2 female lifters.
Athletics have the largest contingent of 37 athletes comprising 17 male and 20 female athletes. 3 athletes including Divine Oduduru will not be at the games due to school commitments and likewise gymnast Uche Eke. The Gymnastics Federation will be presenting just 1 gymnast.
Athletics will hold their final training for 10 days while 10 top athletes will attend the World indoors in Birmingham before arriving on March 1.
Table tennis Federation has 5 male players. They will begin camping three weeks before the games which is when they’ll be released by their various clubs.
The Para Powerlifting athletes will spend one month in the Gold Coast for training while its President Queen Idris Uboh requested for loaders. Para Table Tennis will present 2 players and 2 from Para Athletics.
Barrister Dalung also directed the 10 affected Federations to submit their kit requirements in the next 48hrs. He however warned that Presidents will be held responsible for the disappearance of their athletes while there will be zero tolerance to drug enhancement offenses. He charged them to ensure that Nigeria’s name is not dragged in the mud during the Games.
A total of 90 athletes and 43 team officials will be making the trip to the Gold Coast. The Commonwealth Games starts from April 4-15, 2018 while the Athletes Games Village opens on March 25.