Vice President Yemi Osinbajo urged the Nigerian team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to do their best as they represent the hopes and aspirations of millions of Nigerians.

Osinbajo made the roll call on Monday during the Nigerian team’s dispatch ceremony, the official handover of the Nigerian contingent to the Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC) and the unveiling of the team’s official kit.

The event took place at the State House Conference Hall, Abuja.

The vice president told the athletes that their performance at the tournament would be an opportunity to be immortalized.

“I am delighted to welcome here today the best of the best Nigerian athletes .; the great Nigerian team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics; 58 exceptional athletes and 18 world class coaches.

“When the Games begin on July 23, as a team from Nigeria, you will join other athletes from over 210 countries and territories around the world in the biggest and most spectacular sporting event on the planet: the Olympic Games.

“Each of you who participate in the games is opening a page of history for yourself, your families, your community and the nation.

“Your performance at the games will mark your names in national and world sporting history; you carry the hopes and aspirations of millions of people when you compete in Tokyo.

“But in this endeavor you will have the assurance of the prayers and best wishes of all Nigerians.”

The vice-president implored the team to be motivated by the great exploits of former Nigerian Olympians.

He cited Chioma Ajunwa who won gold at the 1996 Olympics for the long jump and became the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold in a field event.

Osinbajo also referred to the Nigerian Olympic football team which won gold at Atlanta 96.

“The Super Eagles in 1996 who won the gold medal in football, it was the team that had the greatest, Augustine Okocha, Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi, 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.

“It was the year we beat the best footballing nations in the world, Argentina and Brazil and we all held our heads high.

“And for anyone who thinks we’re kidding, they might not have seen our exhibition basketball game on Saturday with Team USA, especially that incredible block from Precious Achiuwa against KD { Kevin Durant} who is probably the best player in the NBA right now.

“So, Precious, you are the real MVP.

“And in the year 2000 in Sydney, again, we beat the best in the world.

“We won gold in the 4 × 400 meter relay after the American team was disqualified for using doping products, it was the team that had Clement Chukwu, the late Sunday Bada, Enefiok Udo-Ubong, Jude Monye, ​​and two other team members Fidelis Gadzama and Nduka Awazie.

He praised the work accomplished and underway by the staff and management of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Osinbajo also praised the different sports federations for developing the talents that allow Nigeria to participate in nine different sports.

“I understand that you are leaving first for the town of Kizarazu to continue your pre-game training before your participation in the Olympic Games.

“I think you should make good use of this window to fully prepare for the competition.

“We must also congratulate the Nigerian Olympic Committee, under the leadership of Engr. Habu Gumel and the International Olympic Committee, under the leadership of Mr. Thomas Bach as well as the government and the good people of Japan for their determination to host the 2020 Olympic Games despite the global challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic “, a- he declared.

Earlier, Gumel, in his speech of thanks, assured that the NOC would be worthy ambassadors of Nigeria throughout the stay in Japan.

According to him, all athletes and officials have all received their full vaccine against COVID-19.

Miss Odunayo Adekoroye, who will take part in the fight, told State House correspondents that the Nigerian team will go to the Tokyo Games as a disciplined and patriotic group and will not tarnish the country’s image.

She said she hoped the team would win more medals for Nigeria. (NAN)

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