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NOC briefs FG on African games, Olympics preparations |

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Solicits Govt’s Support For Programmes
President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Habu Gumel, has urged the Federal Government to support the committee’s efforts at ensuring many of the country’s athletes qualify for next year’s Olympic Games billed for Paris, France.

Gumel said the NOC and the sports federations have been working hard to ensure many Nigerian medals hopeful attend qualification championships across the world.

Speaking when he led a joint team of the NOC and sports federations chairmen to meet with the Minister of Sports, Senator John Owan Enoh, on upcoming multi-event games Involving Nigeria, next year, at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, Gumel briefed the minister on preparations for the Winter Youth Games scheduled for Guam, South Korea, January 9 to February 1, 2024; the 13th African Games, March 8 to March 23, 2024, in Accra Ghana, as well as ‘’ by far the biggest, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, to be staged in Paris, France from July 26 to August 11, 2024.”

He said: “Right now the qualification championships for individual and team sports at the Paris Games are going on. As far as the Olympic Games are concerned, a critical take off is qualification tournaments.

‘’That being the case, the failure of any federation of or team athlete to feature in one or more qualification tournaments lined up by international federations ahead of the Games, simply means automatic disqualification from attending the Games.”

To underscore qualification as a key component of the Games, Gumel said that to date only eight athletes have so far qualified, adding that the eight comprised three athletes from athletics, three from boxing and one each from wrestling and cycling,

“We are still hopeful that the women basketball team and women soccer teams would qualify for the Paris Games.

“We are using every opportunity provided by this joint meeting to solicit the minister’s good will and intervention to ensure that the medal hopefuls in key sports are able to participate in their programmed Olympic qualifying events.’’

The NOC boss emphasised the importance of government support and funding for sports programmes, infrastructure and athlete development and also highlighted the need for increased investments in sports facilities, training centres, and coaching programmes to cultivate and nurture young talents.

According to Gumel, the NOC as a worthy co-partner in national sports development has not been folding its hands to watch the Federal Government carry the burden of funding sports alone.

“In our own little way, we are equally passionately committed to the delivery of values to our stakeholders, especially in capacity building to support national federations’ administrative and technical structures.”

The meeting also addressed issues such as doping control, sports legislation and international collaborations. Both the NOC and the minister expressed their commitment to ensuring fair play and integrity in sports by strengthening anti-doping measures and implementing strict regulations.

In his reaction, Sports Minister, John Owan Enoh, commended the NOC for its efforts at promoting sports and reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting their initiatives.

He stressed the need for fresh ideas to get the private sector to move sports from mere recreation to a business-oriented industry.

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