Cloud of uncertainty that had gathered over the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games qualifiers involving Nigerian athletes and other athletes around the world has been cleared by the International Olympic Committee.
The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics by a year as a result of the spread of covid-19 scourge had cast a shadow of doubt over most of the qualifiers that were yet to be completed.
Respite has, however, come for Nigerian athletes alongside their counterparts from other countries that were yet to complete their qualifiers as the IOC has fixed new dates for the qualifiers.
According to a letter written to all members of the International Olympic Committee, now completed qualifiers have now been extended till the end of June 2021, a week grace before the final deadline of July 5th, 18 days before the Olympics gets underway on July 23rd, 2021.
According to the IOC ” We understand at these times that these are unlikely to include full details of the dates and locations of the specified events. We recognise that this would follow later as the impacts of the Covid-19 and its related restrictions becomes clearer,” the letter stated.
Fifty-seven percent of the 11,000 athletes that would be participating at the Tokyo Olympics had qualified before the event was moved by a year due to the pandemic.
The IOC said it would finalize the adapted qualification system later in the month.
This cheering news for Nigerian athletes has been commended by the Youth and Sports Development Minister Mr Sunday Dare as a welcome development. ” We are excited that the IOC has granted this concession so that those qualifiers can be completed. This will give the athletes ample time to prepare.
Also, we now have enough time to make funds available to those sports Federations that had yet to complete their qualifiers. We are monitoring all our athletes and we believe they are training well despite the world – wide lockdown ”
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He assured that Nigeria would stick to the earlier stance to feature in only 11 events at the games in order to enhance her chances of performing well.