The Performance Director of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Gabriel Okon, said on Thursday that the rate of spread of the deadly Coronavirus would not deter the federation from preparing the country’s athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Okon, also a board member of AFN representing South South Zone stated this in Awka, Anambra while giving his assessment of the ongoing 2020 Nigeria Police Games.
He said that the federation was already preparing the athletes for international competitions in the U.S. and Europe as well as the African Championship but would take necessary steps to avoid the deadly virus.
“Athletics trials will hold in June and we have series of competition lined up, so that the athletes can qualify for the Olympics.
“We have the African Championship and we have some meet in U.S. and Europe, then we have the national trials, so all hands are on deck to ensure the athletes qualify to represent Nigeria at the Olympics.
“We don’t have to worry about coronavirus; the organisers of the game are putting their heads together to know the appropriate time to postpone the Olympics if need be.
“Right now, we are just focusing on preparing and getting ready for the Olympics, that is our main concern,” Okon said.
He explained that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports had already set machinery in motion to ensure a successful outing at the Olympics.
The AFN official said: “We have a vibrant Minister of Sports and he is very active and focused. Few weeks ago we adopted the athletes programme which saw some of them been paid to prepare for the Olympics.
“We no longer have a situation where money won’t be released for athletes to train; they now have money to train. So serious athletes and coaches are now preparing for the Olympics.”
On the ongoing Police Games, Okon said the event met every standard and was organised in accordance with world athletic rules.
He commended the police for nurturing the likes of late Sunday Bada and Chioma Ajunwa who won laurels for the country at international competitions as police officers.