THE National Sports Commission (NSC) has mapped out plans to commence preparation for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games immediately after the forthcoming Eko 2012 National Sports Festival (NSF) holding in Lagos from November 29 to December 9.
According to the Media and Publicity Committee sub-committee of the Main Organising Committee (MOC) of the 18th NSF, the NSC will select experts to monitor and scout for promising and outstanding athletes during the sports festival to form the nucleus of a new Team Nigeria.
Eko 2012, the MOC said in a statement, is expected to provide exceptional athletes who would be groomed on a periodic basis every year from 2013 till the next Olympics.
“These athletes would form the core of the country’s contingent to future international sports competitions holding from next year,” the body said. “These competitions include the All Africa Games and the Commonwealth Games.”
The statement added that the NSC Chairman/Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, has directed that “henceforth, only athletes who have shown enough will and zeal to compete in our national colours will be given consideration in the formation of a new-look Team Nigeria.
“The minister has also directed that the various sports associations must henceforth endeavour to take part in all national and international competitions available,” as that would keep the teams competitive in the build-up to the Olympics.
Meanwhile, the minister has directed that the various Sports Zones created by the NSC be empowered to scout for and develop talents in their domains, while particular attention should be paid to such sports as taekwondo, judo, wrestling, weightlifting and athletics.