2020 is well underway, meaning that the Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be upon us before we know it. The upcoming Olympics may be the most widely watched yet, giving Nigerian athletes and sports stars a chance to shine on the global stage.
Preparations within Nigeria officially kicked off last year, with the Nigerian Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, announcing a string of fundraising initiatives aimed at covering the training and travel costs of the country’s star athletes.
Beyond the government announcements, preparations among the actual athletes have been underway for years, with some of this year’s participants undergoing intensive training ever since the conclusion of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. If you’re already catching Olympic fever, read on to find out everything we know so far about Nigeria at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The Focus on Winning Medals is Intense
While grabbing as many medals as possible during any Olympic tournament is always the main priority, it looks likely that the pressure placed on Nigerian athletes will be even greater this year. For one, Nigeria still bitterly remembers not scooping up a single medal during the 2012 London Olympics, whilst only managing to scrape a single Bronze during the 2016 games in Rio.
The Nigerian Sports Minister has spoken publicly about plans to do better in 2020, telling The Guardian that “lessons have been learned” from previous Olympic performances and that all of the athletes are training harder than ever. In addition, he also noted that recent performances by Nigerian sports stars and athletes at international events, such as those in Doha and Morocco, should indicate to naysayers that Nigeria is planning on taking home the gold this time around.
International Attention Will Be Greater
There have been plenty of signs that the world will be paying closer attention to how Nigeria performs this time around. The first of these concerns the strong performance of Nigerian athletes at international sporting events over the past year. For example, the gold medals won by Nigerian runners at the 2019 African Games in Morocco, as well as Nigeria being the top-performing African country at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, have prompted international audiences to turn their attention to us.
Renewed interest in Nigerian sports is also evident in the world of gaming. The popular football game PES deciding to include Nigerian clubs and players in the game for the first time this year, citing their rising prominence in global football. Meanwhile, global casino and sports betting sites such as ComeOn now offer extensive betting on the Nigerian football league games. All of this suggests that the pressure will be on for Nigerian athletes to deliver their A-game in Tokyo.
These Are the Events Nigeria Has Qualified For
For those wondering where they can watch Nigeria compete at the Tokyo Olympics, here is a full list of events we have qualified for:
- Basketball – Men’s Tournament
- Men’s Track & Road Events: 400m, 200m, 100m
- Women’s Track & Road Events: 100m, 100m hurdles, 200m
- Men’s Shot Put
- Women’s Long Jump
- Women’s Canoeing Sprint: 200m
- Women’s Rowing: Rowing Single Sculls
- Women’s Freestyle Wrestling
It’s clear that 2020 looks set to be a promising one for Nigeria. Let’s hope our talented athletes and sporting stars can deliver and bring home some gold.
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