Unveiling Of Team Nigeria’s Olympics Kit & Send Forth Ceremony For Team Nigeria Contigent
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR, DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, AT THE SEND FORTH CEREMONY FOR TEAM NIGERIA CONTINGENT TO THE TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES ON MONDAY JULY 12, 2021
I bring you warm greetings from President Muhammadu Buhari, who would have come except this event clashed with a previous engagement that could not be moved.
I am delighted to welcome here today, the very best of the best Nigerian Athletes. The great Nigerian team to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 58 outstanding athletes and 18 world-class coaches.
When the Games begin on July 23, 2021, you will, as Team Nigeria, be joining other athletes from over 210 countries and territories of the world in the biggest and the most spectacular sporting event on the planet – the Olympic Games.
Every one of you participating in the games is opening a page in history for yourself, your families, your community, and the nation.
Your performance at the games will inscribe your names in National and world sporting history. You carry the hopes and aspirations of millions as you compete in Tokyo. But you will in this endeavor, have the assurance of the prayers and best wishes of all Nigerians. You will also carry with you the encouragement of the great exploits of Nigerian Olympians before you.
Such legends as Chioma Ajunwa who won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics for the long jump and became the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event.
The Super Eagles in 1996 who won the gold medal for football; that was the team that had the greats; Augustine Okocha, Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi, Sunday Oliseh, Taribo West, Kanu Nwankwo, Abiodun Obafemi, Emmanuel Amuneke, Emmanuel Babayaro, Garba Lawal, Joseph Dosu, Kingsley Obiekwu, Mobi Obaraku, Uche Okechukwu, Teslim Fatusi, Tijani Babangida, Victor Ikpeba, and Wilson Oruma —that was the year we defeated the world’s best footballing nations Brazil, and Argentina and we all held our heads high.
And for anyone who thinks we are joking, maybe they haven’t seen our exhibition basketball game on Saturday with the USA team, especially that amazing block by Precious Achiuwa against KD Kevin Durant, who is probably the best player in the NBA right now. So Precious, you are the real MVP!
In 2000, in Sydney again we beat the best in the world we won the gold in the 4×400 metre relay after the American team was disqualified for using performance-enhancing drugs. Our team then was Clement Chukwu, the late Sunday Bada, Enefiok Udo-Ubong, Jude Monye, and two other members of the team Fidelis Gadzama and Nduka Awazie.
You stand on the shoulders of giants and with the quality and intensity of training you have received and your exploits during the qualification series for the Olympic Games, I am confident that by God’s grace you will again make history and beat the best in the world.
I commend the great job being done by the staff and management of the Ministry of Youth and Sports led by very able and hardworking Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare. I also commend the various sporting Federations for developing these talents to enable Nigeria, participate in 9 different sports.
I understand that you are departing first to the City of Kizarazu in continuation of your pre-games training before your participation in the Olympic Games. I urge you to make good use of this window in priming yourselves for the competition ahead.
We must also commend the Nigeria Olympic Committee, under the leadership of Engineer Habu Gumel and the International Olympic Committee, under the Leadership of Mr. Thomas Bach as well as the Government and good people of Japan for their determination to host the 2020 Olympic Games in spite of the global challenge posed by the Coronavirus pandemic. This is important as we need to continue, as much as possible, to live our normal lives even with the presence of the COVID-19 virus.
I have been assured that every member of the Team Nigeria delegation to the Games has been vaccinated against the virus. It is necessary for you to continue to observe all COVID-19 protocols and to strictly adhere to the IOC Playbook in order to safeguard your health and those of others around you.
The Olympics is about fair play, honesty, teamwork, respect, friendship. You must do your part to promote these Olympian ideals as you compete. Fair play clearly enjoins every athlete not to use any prohibited substances or to cheat in any way. Half of the joy and satisfaction of victory is that it was won fairly.
I trust that you will as worthy ambassadors of Nigeria, represent our nation excellently.
Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen, it is now my exceptional honour and pleasure to formally hand over the Tokyo 2020 Team Nigeria contingent to the Nigeria Olympic Committee and to unveil in a moment, the official outfit and kit of Team Nigeria.
I wish you all safe travel to Japan and a safe return home with plenty of medals.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.