No fewer than 16 athletes and officials departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Thursday for Texas, U.S. as part of the build-up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
John Joshua-Akanji, Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.
He said the athletes were due to take part in relay qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics while in the U.S.
He noted that the athletes and coaches were seen off by the Sports Minister as preparations for the Olympics reached top gear.
“The team had almost three weeks camping in Abuja in preparation for the relay races in the U.S. which serves as qualifiers for the Olympics after missing out of the World Relays in Poland due to visa issue,” he said.
This is contrary to the reports in a national daily which claimed that Team Nigeria was stranded due to lack of funds.
Secretary-General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Niyi Beyioku said that the athletes had been properly motivated to participate in the various relays in the U.S.
“You can see them in their new kits courtesy of the minister, who pulled all the buttons to make the trip a reality.
“The team has no financial problems. Team Nigeria Olympic preparations are on track. This is evident in what we are seeing.
“The advance party went ahead to fine-tune all arrangements. This is a mark of the commitment of the minister to ensure a hitch-free event and podium success in Tokyo,” Beyioku said.
The secretary said that all COVID-19 protocols for a successful trip had been carried out.
The team will take part in the first relay on May 9. (NAN)