As Nigeria intensifies preparation for Rio 2016 Olympic, Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, tells members of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) whose presence in Brazil will be ineffective to remain in the country or be responsible for the cost.
The president further warned the members of the Nigerian contingent to the Rio 2016 Olympics to do away with drugs and other acts that could bring disrepute to the country.
Buhari while speaking before he handed over Team Nigeria to the NOC at the Old Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja, said, “We are all aware of our nation’s dwindling revenue and the current global economic challenges. It is, therefore, imperative that funds provided for the Games are utilized judiciously.
“In this regard, any official who has no business at the Games should stay at home to cheer the team from here and if they must travel to the Olympics, they should do so at their own expense.”
The president, who was decorated by the Olympic body as the NOC Grand Patron, charged all athletes and team officials going to the Olympic Games to be worthy ambassadors of the country, both on the field of play and outside the sporting arena, noting that the eyes of the global community would be on them and as such, they should desist from acts that could dent Nigeria’s image.
He said, “The menace of drug use in sports is threatening the core foundation of sports and has led to embarrassing situations as well as sanctions of some great sporting nations. I, therefore, urge you to keep the integrity of our nation intact by competing clean and fair at the Olympic Games.
“Please bring as many medals back home as a result of your efforts and endeavour. But remember it is more important to compete and acquit your country as a fair sporting nation than to bring a pack of medals as a result of bending the rules and denying the Games of fair competition.”
He added: “Aside the sports that we have qualified for the Olympic Games, I have equally been informed that our athletes have qualified athletes for the Paralympic Games, which comes up immediately after the Olympic Games in Brazil.”
He assured that the Federal Government was fully committed to the delegation’s successful participation in the Rio Olympic Games and will ensure that funds budgeted for the Games were released without further delay.
Sports and Youths Development Minister, Solomon Dalung, thanked the President for his unwavering commitment to sports development in the country. He cited the N2.9 billion the President approved for the Ministry on the heels of the last African Games, while assuring the president that “members of the team are competing on merit… they have trained sufficiently and they are still training. 86 athletes will be carrying Nigerian banners in nine different sports.”
This year Olympic, which will be hosted in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil from 5th to 21st August, has over 10,500 athletes from 206 participating nations with 306 events, 37 venues and 42 sport disciplines.