July 30, 2021

Tokyo Olympics: Osinbajo hands over Team Nigeria to NOC

July 13, 2021
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo (middle), and the Minister of Sports, Chief Sunday Dare (), pose with members of Team Nigeria after the unveiling of the team's outfit to Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in Abuja, on Monday.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday received Team Nigeria to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, as he charged them to replicate the successes of the Atlanta ’96 and the Sydney 2000 Olympics teams.

At a send-off ceremony at the presidential villa, Abuja, which also witnessed the formal handover of the Nigerian contingent to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) and the unveiling of the team’s official outfit and kit, Osinbajo told the delegation that “you stand on the shoulders of giants.”

A statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, said while recalling the exploits of past Nigerian teams, Osinbajo added that “you will also carry with you the encouragement of the great exploits of Nigerian Olympians before you.”

He reminded the team of “such legends as Chioma Ajunwa who won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in long jump and became the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event.

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“The Super Eagles in 1996 who won the gold medal for football; that was the team that had the greats; Austin Okocha, Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi (who was present at the event,) 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’s best footballing nations – Brazil and Argentina and we all held our heads high.”

He stated that “in 2000, in Sydney again we beat the best in the world, we won the gold in 4×400m relay after the American team was disqualified for using performance-enhancing drugs. Our team then was Clement Chukwu, the late Sunday Bada, Enefiok Udo-Ubong, Jude Monye, and two other members of the team, Fidelis Gadzama and Nduka Awazie.

“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!

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“You stand on the shoulders of giants and with the quality and intensity of training you have received and your exploits during the qualification series for the Olympic Games, I am confident that by God’s grace, you will again make history and beat the best in the world.”

Osinbajo noted that: “Olympics is about fair play, honesty, teamwork, respect, and friendship. I trust that you will, as worthy ambassadors of Nigeria, represent our nation excellently.

“Fair play clearly enjoins every athlete not to use any prohibited substances or to cheat in any way. Half of the joy and satisfaction of victory is that it was won fairly.”

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

Osinbajo assured the team of the prayers and support of all Nigerians as they compete with athletes from other nations.

He urged the team to continue to observe all COVID-19 protocols and to strictly adhere to the IOC Playbook in order to safeguard their health and those of others around them.

Earlier in his remarks, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare, said the athletes were ready to do the country proud and presented to the Vice President, the made-in-Nigeria kits for the Nigerian contingent.

“I am happy to announce today that the complete kit for Team Nigeria to the Tokyo 2020 Games was produced with a heavy dose of local content. We thank AFA Sports, Africa For Africa, a local sports equipment manufacturing company for delivering on the production of uniforms for Team Nigeria. This is a veritable testament and commitment of the Buhari administration to support and grow local content and industry in all sectors of the Nigerian economy,” he said.

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