Ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has awarded scholarship to 11 Nigerian athletes after being captured in the latest IOC scholarship scheme.
The list is headlined by fast rising 100 metres hurdler and reigning Commonwealth Gold medallist, Oluwatobiloba Ayomide Amusan and Portugal based table tennis star, Aruna Quadri.
The deal brokered by the Nigeria Olympic Committee also include Commonwealth Games Wrestling champion in the 53kg category, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Blessing Oborodudu (Wrestling) and Nathaniel Glory Onome (Athletics), Nathaniel Samson (Athletics).
Others include Adeniyi Aminat (Wrestling), Adesanmi Oluwatoyin (Weightlifting), Italy based table tennis talent, Omotayo Olajide and taekwondo duo of Adamu Abubakar and Otuadinma Uzoamaka.
Reacting to this development, the NOC President, Engr. Habu Gumel described the latest gesture from IOC as a welcome development which will go a long way in exposing the athletes to quality training facilities, specialised coaches, regular medical and scientific assistance, as well as lodging costs and travel to Olympic qualification competitions.
“These 11 athletes were carefully selected out of the numerous applications from Nigerian athletes home and abroad. We would have wanted more slots, but we just had to make do with the available slots given to Nigeria by IOC.”
Engr. Gumel seized the opportunity to appeal to corporate organisations to support and sponsor Nigerian athletes which will ease the burden on the Federal Government, sports federations and individual athletes as they prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“Qualifying for the Olympics is capital intensive and without heavy financial backing. Athletes and federations find it difficult to train properly and even attend the numerous competitions which serve as qualifiers for the Olympics.
“We cannot leave everything to government or federation presidents. We need more corporate sponsors to help us in preparing these athletes for major international competitions.”
Prior to the Rio 2016 Olympics, 12 athletes including Nigeria’s Queen of the track, Blessing Okagbare, Ese Brume, Ejowkoghene Divine Oduduru, and Adekuoroye all benefitted from the IOC scholarship.