Nigeria officially kicked off its journey to the 2020 Olympic Games scheduled to hold in Japan later this year, with a courtesy visit to the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, by Nigeria’s Honourable Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, who decorated the governor and presented an award to him in recognition of his role in sports development in Nigeria, and also for his support as Grand Patron for Nigeria’s 2020 Olympic Games efforts.
While addressing the governor at the decoration ceremony held at the Government House, Asaba, the minister thanked the governor for receiving the team in the state, while paying glowing tributes to what he described as, giant strides in the development of sports in the state. The minister said, this had contributed massively to the pool of sports superstars in the country, a huge of number of whom are expected to represent Nigeria at the Olympic Games, especially in the area of athletics, with big names such as Ese Brume, Divine Oduduru, Blessing Okagbare and a host of other top Delta-born athletes, expected to rub shoulders with the world’s best athletes and win laurels for the country at the competition.
According the minister, the visit to the state, was also an opportunity to review the state’s preparation, not just for the Olympics, but also, towards the coming National Sports Festival, scheduled to hold in Edo State from the 22nd of March to the 1st of April, 2020. He expressed confidence that the state would once again, give excellent account of itself at the games and hopefully, unearth new talents who will be ready to represent Nigeria at global games in the nearest future.
While responding, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, thanked the minister for coming, commending his efforts in the sports sector of the country since his appointment by the current administration.
He said, “One thing I truly must thank you for is that, and I am trying to choose the words but, I probably would put it this way that, you have brought some level of sanity into sports in Nigeria, between the short time that you have come in. It is important that we do realize that, relationships matter, advocacy matters, engaging the states, engaging everybody. We can only bring the best out of Nigeria when we truly go through that.”
The governor declared the state’s readiness to lend its support to Nigeria’s Olympic preparations, while expressing hopes that the minister receives the cooperation of all in achieving Nigeria’s 2020 Olympic dreams.
“Most times in the past, the athletes are mostly left on their own, so the zeal to truly compete in their best for this country, is actually dampened. I think that with the course that you’ve taken up, they’re actually going to be fired up in the next Olympics. On our own part, we definitely are going to support the Delta athletes to see that they do their best at the Olympics,” he said.