African record holder in the 200m and queen of the track, Blessing Okagbare, quest for podium performance at the forthcoming summer Tokyo Olympic has been given a huge boost following her adoption and six others by the Delta State governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, to support their preparations.
Other athletes adopted by the Governor Okowa are Favour Ofili, Divine Oduduru, Raymond Ekevwo, Itshekiri Usheorise, Ogho Oghene Egwero and Ese Brume.
With this development, Okagbare who won the women’s 100 events at the Oregon Relays in 10.97 seconds, the second-best time in the world this year and the six other athletes preparations for the Olympics have hits a higher gear with their personal expenses like medical, hiring of trainer, nutritionist and other related needs will be taken care of.
The Adopt-an-Athlete campaign, an initiative of the minister of youth and sports development, Mr. Sunday Dare, was created to have individuals, state government and corporate bodies fund the training of Olympics- bound athletes.
These newly adopted athletes join the league of those that had earlier been adopted by Lagos, Edo and Ogun State governors.
Most of those adopted are already part of Team Nigeria camp in the United States.
The money will be paid directly into the personal account of the adopted athletes after the signing of an MOU between the athlete and the adopter.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has finalised arrangements for the camping of home- based athletes in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Bayelsa beginning from today, May 24.
The director, federation of elite athletes’ department, Dr Simeon Ebhojiaye, who disclosed this in a statement, said the performance of the foreign based athletes are being monitored closely.
“With just days to the official commencement of the Tokyo Olympics, our countdown commences on May 24, 2021 with camp for the home-based in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Bayelsa where athletes are expected to intensify their readiness for podium success in Tokyo.
“We are also monitoring the performances of the foreign based athletes closely.
“Abuja will play host to athletics, canoeing, rowing, weightlifting, para athletics and taekwondo.
“Lagos hosts para powerlifting and para table tennis, wrestling is camped in Bayelsa while badminton will be in Port Harcourt,” Ebhojiayeh said.
He affirmed that Nigeria decided to participate in only ten events where she has competitive advantage.