The Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) has secured scholarship for 11 Nigerian athletes from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games.
Phemmy Adetula, Public Relations Officer of NOC, said in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday that the athletes were captured in the IOC scholarship scheme for 2019.
The athletes that would be benefiting from the scholarships are; 100 metres hurdler and reigning Commonwealth Gold medallist, Oluwatobiloba Amusan and Portugal based table tennis star, Aruna Quadri.
Others include; Commonwealth Games Wrestling Champion in the 53kg category, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Blessing Oborodudu (Wrestling) and Nathaniel Glory Onome (Athletics), Nathaniel Samson (Athletics).
Adeniyi Aminat (Wrestling), Adesanmi Oluwatoyin (Weightlifting), Italy based table tennis talent, Omotayo Olajide and taekwondo duo of Adamu Abubakar and Otuadinma Uzoamaka are other athletes to benefit from the scheme.
Habu Gumel, President of NOC, described the gesture from IOC as a welcome development.
Gumel said the gesture would go a long way in exposing the athletes to quality training facilities, specialised coaches, regular medical and scientific assistance ahead of the Olympics Games in Tokyo.
He said that the athletes benefiting from the scholarship would also enjoy lodging costs and travel to Olympic qualification competitions.
“These 11 athletes were carefully selected out of the numerous applications from Nigerian athletes home and abroad.
“We would have wanted more slots, but we just had to make do with the available slots given to Nigeria by IOC,” Gumel said.
The NOC president, however, called on corporate organisations to support and sponsor Nigerian athletes to international competitions and Olympics qualifiers.
He said that this would ease the burden on the Federal Government, sports federations and individual athletes as they prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Gumel noted that qualifying for the Olympics is capital intensive and without heavy financial backing.
He said that Athletes and federations found it difficult to train properly and even attend the numerous competitions which serve as qualifiers for the Olympics.
“We cannot leave everything to government or sports federation presidents. We need more corporate sponsors to help us in preparing these athletes for major international competitions,” Gumel said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that sequel to the Rio 2016 Olympics, 12 Nigerian athletes benefited from IOC scholarship.
The athletes include; Nigeria’s Queen of the track, Blessing Okagbare, Ese Brume, Ejowkoghene Divine Oduduru, and Adekuoroye.