Speaking during the handover ceremony of the team at the Sheraton Hotel in Lagos, President Jonathan said that the London Games provide the best chance for the athletes to raise their profile.
Recalling that Nigeria’s best outing at the Olympics was at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, President Jonathan, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission (NSC), Bolaji Abdulahi, said that it was time for Nigeria to return to winning ways, beginning from London.
“For how long will our best continue to remain in our past is the big question on my mind and that is the challenge before you as you go for the Games in London. We should start asking what strategic policies are we putting in place to make people work and win”, said President Jonathan through Bolaji.
He said that the undying Nigerian spirit was going to propel athletes to greater heights in London.
“We have continued to surpass all expectations because we find strength in those things that we do not have and that is the Nigerian spirit. That is what you are taking to London. We are a nation of great athletes, who I believe can win medals in London.
“We must start now to build systems that can produce medalists, rather than athletes who can chase medals.. We expect you to make us proud but we don’t want medals that are tainted by drugs. Do not go near drugs. We can only build on what we have achieved so far”.
Olympics: Nigeria lands in London
Team Nigeria’s first batch of athletes to the Olympics Games starting on July 26 has landed in London.
The team led by the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Sani Ndanusa, were expected to arrive the Heathrow International Airport around 5am to the warm embrace of the Nigerian support group based in the heart of England today.
Comprising track and field athletes, the Nigerian team was expected to move to their Surrey pre- Games camp in the University of Surrey, where they would finalise their training ahead the commencement of the biggest sports showpiece in the world.
Ndanusa, who is now the custodian of Team Nigeria to the London Games, said that he was confident that the athletes will make the nation proud at the Olympics. He also used the opportunity of the trip to warn them not to cheat to win.
“Having invested so much in our preparations for the Games, I charge our athletes to reciprocate this gesture by abstaining from any act that could tarnish the image of our country before the comity of nations. One major area where our athletes need to exercise absolute caution is the issue of doping.
“The position of the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency on the use of banned substances has become more stringent and pronounced through the deployment of high-tech detectors. I want you to be wary of any medication or drugs that could endanger your chances of doing well at the Games.
“The medical team should also take proactive steps in monitoring the athletes, especially as it relates to their nutrition and medication.”