President Muhammadu Buhari has directed Nigerian athletes to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to go for gold but not at the expense of the country’s image.
“Please bring as many medals back home as a result of your efforts and endeavour. But remember it is more important to compete and acquit your country as a fair sporting nation than to bring a pack of medals as a result of bending the rules and denying the Games of fair competition”, he charged them.
The president was speaking in the State House, Abuja, at the official handover of Team Nigeria to the 2016 Olympic Committee where his investiture took place as the Grand Patron of the Nigerian Olympic Committee.
Going by statistics,Nigeria has 49 qualified male athletes and 29 female athletes, giving a total of 78 athletes in 10 sport disciplines.
The president expressed the home that these Nigerians would live up to expectation and that the Paralympics that will follow immediately, will bring joy to the athletes and the country.
“ I therefore want to use this opportunity to personally congratulate all these worthy athletes on their qualifications for these Games, even in the face of daunting challenges in their preparations”, he said.
He assured them that the Federal Government would release funds budgeted for the Games without further delay.
“You are very aware of recent doping allegations which cast aspersions not only on the individual athletes but on their home countries. Please keep Nigeria clean. The menace of drug use in sports is threatening the core foundation of sports and has led to embarrassing situations as well as sanctions of some great sporting nations. I, therefore, urge you to keep the integrity of our nation intact by competing clean and fair at the Olympic Games.”
Handing over the flag to the Olympic Committee, the president left the athletes and their official thinking very deeply, saying “ finally, let me assure you of the support of over 170 million sports-loving Nigerians who are solidly behind you as you depart to bring glory to our fatherland in Rio.”