Sports Ministry Steps In To Stem Crisis At Olympics
By Lekan Sowande.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has stepped in to stem further crisis by addressing the issues that have arisen concerning athletes representing Team Nigeria at the ongoing 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of World Athletics (WA), recently released a report disqualifying 10 Nigerian athletes for not meeting up to 3 Out of Competition Tests needed to compete.
“The Ministry is abreast of the situation on ground and addressing them. Payment of various allowances commenced since last week and is ongoing,” said Simon Ebhojiaye, Director, Federation of Elites Athletes Department of the Ministry.
“The Ministry is looking into some of the issues raised by the athletes and they are being addressd as quickly as possible.”
The Minister in a meeting spoke directly with the 10 track & Field athletes who will not be competing and assured them of their welfare. He apologized to them over the unfortunate development that led to their exclusion, and promised that it would be fully investigated.
In the same vein, the Minister intervened over the International Olympic Committee (IOC) packs for the athletes. Working with the NOC, the Minister and NOC President on Friday morning were able to secure approval. No official of Team Nigeria or NOC took away the entitlements of any athlete.
The IOC approved that the 10 Nigerian athletes receive Samsung Galaxy S21 5G. The letter of approval for the release of the phones was signed by Jonas Brun, Junior Project Manager, NOC Relations/ NOC Services.
“Regarding your athletes that will not participate in competitions in Tokyo in light of the latest information received, I confirm that you can still go ahead and give phones to the athletes”, the letter read.
Therefore, the issue over the phone was resolved administratively according to the IOC Rule and guidelines. Team Nigerian officials acted in line with IOC standards and as soon as approval was received the right thing was done.
The phones which were delivered to all NOCs at the Games Village was in order for them to benefit from all important information included in the Athlete365website and also to comply with requirements set forth in the Play books, in particular the download and use of the apps required by the Japanese authorities.