*Sports Minister insists Ogbemudia Stadium has raised the bar for sports devt
By Adibe Emenyonuin
Team Nigeria’s preparations for the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo, Japan received a major boost at the weekend with the promise by the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki to adopt quarter-miler, Orukpe Eraiyokan.
The Governor made a final financial commitment for the adoption of the UK-based athlete after a meeting with the Minister of Youth and sports Development,Chief Sunday Dare, in Benin last Friday.
Eraiyokan who specializes in the 400m and 4×400m relay is one of Nigeria’s current fastest quarter-miler and could be the anchor for Nigeria’s 4x400m relay team at the Olympics.
The athlete expressed appreciation to the Minister and the Edo State governor for the confidence reposed in him to deliver. He assured Nigerians that he would not let the country down.
Eraiyokan is expected to compete for Edo State at the National Sports Festival scheduled to begin from April 2nd through April 14th. The festival, he believes will help him to fine-tune his preparations for the Olympics.
Several athletes were on the verge of being adopted last year before Covid-19 pandemic led to the shut down of businesses and sporting activities.
The Adopt-an-Athlete programme is an initiative of the Sports Minister to secure funding for athletes to enable them prepare for the Olympics.
Meanwhile, Chief Dare has further commended the Obaseki-led administration in the state for the revamp of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium into a world-class facility. He insisted that it has raised the bar for sports development in Nigeria and has set the benchmark for other states to emulate.
Dare who spoke after inspecting facilities earmarked to host the National Sports Festival in Edo State, expressed satisfaction with the quality of what the state has offered.
“I can’t ask for more with what I have seen here. Sportsmen and women can’t ask for better facilities than what we have here at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Edo State.
“The facilities and equipment will excite the athletes, as they are comparable to what you will find anywhere in the world.
“This is a revamp of sporting facilities to global standards never before seen anywhere in the country. It raises the bar for any other state that wants to revamp its sporting facilities.
“I am satisfied with what I have seen here today and most of our athletes will be ready to compete here and set new personal and world records.”
The Minister assured stakeholders that financial support will come from the Federal Government to support the state to host the games because of the associated financial cost necessitated by several postponements.
Also, former Nigeria’s Queen of the Tracks, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi expressed delight in the world-class facilities at Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
She insisted that they are comparable with those in advanced countries.