Director General of NSC, Chief Patrick Ekeji
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Nigeria will trim the size of its field contingent to the next Olympic Games after the National Sports Commission (NSC) officially announced that the country will only participate in six sports at Rio 2016.
Director General of NSC, Chief Patrick Ekeji, mooted this new policy shift when the commission appeared before the members of the House Sports Committee on Monday, to defend its fiscal policies for last year in addition to how it planned to spend its 2013 appropriation.
Ekeji said NSC resolved to focus on fewer sports as it was not producing results from the present bloated 44 national sports federations’ arrangement.
“We will be reviewing the number of sports we will taking to Rio 2016 by concentrating only on six sports, including football. We have 44 associations and our lean sports can’t produce meaningful results. We have to focus and concentrate our little funds on the few sports we are sure of,” Ekeji said.
Ekeji said that rather than government continuing to provide annual subventions to the associations, the commission would welcome going into partnership with private organizations, to run the associations through concessionary arrangement. Some of the associations, notably golf and hockey are under concessional arrangements.
Nigeria was represented by 53 athletes in eight sports at London 2012. The sports included athletics, basketball, boxing, canoe slalom, table tennis, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling. The cost of participating at the Games was N2.3 billion.
Though Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi, had earlier this year, announced the plan to limit the number of national sports associations to only those that will confer competitive advantage to Nigeria, the plan to execute the policy in Rio 2016 is the outcome of Nigeria’s dismal outing in London where it won no medal.
Abdullahi had at the recent Presidential Retreat on Sports, said that Nigeria would require no less than N7billion to meet its five gold medal target at Rio 2016.