Nigeria's D'Tigers Al Farouk hugging Ike Diogu
Team Nigeria’s athletes and officials took the centre stage Tuesday at the imposing Olympic Games Village when the country’s contingent was formally welcomed into the residential arena.
Nigeria’s green white green national flag was equally hoisted to indicate the presence of the most populated nation south of the Sahara at the Games.
With the national anthem playing on the background, the country’s athletes cheered all the way as the flag rose majestically to flutter among the flags of other nations for the Olympics scheduled to begin on Friday, July 27.
In a colourful ceremony at the Village, Nigeria’s Chef de Mission, Dr Patrick Ekeji, NOC President, Sani M. Ndanusa and Nigeria’s High commission to the UK, Dr Dalhatu Tafida all stood at attention watching with excitement as the flag soar high in the air.
Ex-international athlete and one of the coaches of Team Nigeria, Yussuf Alli, was so moved that he predicted that the Nigerian national anthem would be played more times during the Games.
Only countries whose athletes win gold medals have the honour of their national anthem being played at the medal presentation ceremony.
Ali said that he was not being carried away by emotion or blinded by patriotism.
“More of Nigerian national anthem will be played during the Games. This is because the athletes are raring to go. They are determined to prove themselves and make the country proud. The cordial relationship between the NSC and the NOC is an indication of good things to come,’’ observed the former Team Nigeria captain.
Present at the event also was the Mayor of Enfield, Mrs Kate Anolue, among many other Nigerians living in London who screamed when Team Nigeria athletes marched to the venue clad in their green white green outfit, waving their flags to their admiration.