Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Nigerian boxers will train in Kohl, Germany ahead of London 2012 Olympic Games, the National Sports Commission (NSC) announced Thursday.
The decision is an unusual one as it marked the departure from the practice of sending the pugilists to Cuba to sharpen their skills before a major competition.
The Chairman of London 2012 Coordinating and Advisory Committee, Alhassan Yakmut, said that the authority opted for Germany because Cuba is no longer the power house of amateur boxing.
Apart from that, Yakmut, who is also a deputy director in the NSC, said that Nigeria was not guaranteed a quality coaching in Cuba because the Caribbean Island nation is expected to concentrate on its seven boxers who have qualified for the Olympics.
“We are going to Germany because boxing has moved to Europe which has secured more slots to the games. Apart from that, we wont have space and coaches in Cuba as they will focus on their boxers who have qualified for the Olympics,” Yakmut said.
The boxers will spend 21 days in Kohn even though the federation is yet to conclude its qualification series.
NSC said that six national associations have officially secured the bragging rights to attend the Olympics which hold from July 27- August 12.
The sports include taekwondo, table tennis, athletics, canoeing, wrestling and weightlifting.
Basketball is also hoping to join the list provided it scales through the qualifying process by the end of June
NSC said that 46 athletes have met the games’ set standards and will represent Nigeria.
Taekwondo will train in Busan, South Korea, which is about one and a half-hours from Seoul. They will train in the South East Asian country for 30-35 days while athletics will have a training camp in Atlanta.
The fourth camp is proposed to hold in Surrey, England, some few days before the start of the Olympics.
The Nigerian contingent will arrive at the Olympic village on July 18 after they will handed over the National Olympic Committee (NOC) at a date not later than July 11.
Yakmut also revealed that the Sports Minister Bolaji Abdulahi, has approved the payment of training grants to foreign-based athletes to enable them offset their bills and pay their coaches so that they wont be bogged down by psychological problems before the Olympics.
He said that the commission is set to execute its plans towards the games as President Goodluck Jonathan has approved for money to be released for the purpose.