Nigeria’s contingent to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is to depart the country next Monjday, August 1.
Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Nneka Ikem-Anibeze confirmed yesterday that Team Nigeria athletes and officials have been booked to leave for the South America nation on Ethiopia Airlines.
The Games Village in Rio where the athletes are going to be camped during the global multi-sport fiesta opened on Sunday with officials of Australia complaining of lack of some infrastructure.
The ministerial assistant also revealed that air tickets for foreign-based athletes are to be sent to them to join Team Nigeria in Brazil.
“The Ministry of Youth and Sports is to send air tickets for the Rio Olympics to athletes by midweek.
Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, confirmed the development during a meeting with the president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria AFN and staff of the Federation of Elite Athletes Department FEAD in Abuja yesterday.
The minister had summoned both parties to establish the author of the email purportedly sent to athletes to buy their tickets to Brazil on behalf of the ministry.
Dalung reiterated federal government’s commitment to ensure that Nigerian athletes are well taken care of ahead of the games, describing the e-mail as mischievous.
“The author of that e-mail lacks the authority to write on behalf of the ministry or even the Federal Government of Nigeria. At no time did we ask our athletes to sought for funds to travel knowing too well that athletes are very fragile people to be managed.
“There are so many things that come to play in determining their success. It’s not just skills, training and determination. The psychology of an athlete at the point of contest is also very important so if you ask them to look for money to buy air tickets, how sincere could you be in terms of planning for Rio.
“The said letter which generated a lot of negative reactions is not the position of the ministry. We have a responsibility to transport our athletes to and from anywhere they are because they are on national assignment. Whosoever published that email and his motive will definitely be investigated,” Dalung said.