The Minister of Youth and Sports, Chief Sunday Dare, says he is impressed with the level of preparedness of Nigeria’s sportsmen and women towards the forthcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. He said despite the odds, through dedication and hard work, they are determined to bring glory to Nigeria. The minister stated this during the 2021 Evaluation Competition of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN held at the Sports Complex of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA on March 12th and 13th 2021. He said “what I have seen today is quite impressive, we are gaining momentum as we prepare for the Olympics. What really gladden my heart are the young athletes who are now setting personal best records. You can see that the excitement, the spirit of competitiveness and I think the future of Nigeria track and field event is great. Preparations are ongoing towards the Olympics and there are several plans running concurrently even for foreign based athletes and for our home-based athletes”
Speaking on the National Sports Festival to be held in Edo in April the minister said “It is my greatest desire that the sports festival holds in the interest of Nigeria’s sports development. It is also going to be a great factor that will determine our performance at the Olympics in July. We have received support from several government parastatals and definitely the event will hold.” He acknowledged the support of FUTA and its contribution to the overall success of the event. He also appreciated the University for its Commitment over the years in the grooming of great sports men and women who have won laurels for the country and making its facilities available for the AFN for major competitions and training. The minister said FUTA was an institution to beat in quality facilities and great sportsmanship.
On her part, Chief Mary Onyali, one time Africa’s fastest woman and one of the best sprinters produced by the continent, thanked FUTA for its unalloyed support towards sports development among the youth in Nigeria. She expressed hope that government will do its best to support grassroots sports development. The Duo of Lawrence Olasehinde Adegbehingbe and Brown Ebewele , both officials of the NFF commended FUTA for its contributions towards the event and urged government to be more proactive in grooming the youths who are sports inclined so that the country could continue to hold its own on the International sports arena.
Former FUTA athletes and Alumni of FUTA, Akomolafe Ademola, Abejoye Oyeniyi and Oladimeji Olaniyi paid glowing tributes to FUTA for being instrumental to their athletic prowess. FUTA athletes Michelle Egwuonwu and Owoeye Temilola were elated to represent FUTA and were enthusiastic at competing with other athletes to test their preparedness for the National Sports Festival and the Olympics.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape, was elated at the regular use of facilities in the institution by the AFN saying FUTA would always support the AFN and similar bodies in their quest for sporting excellence. He also expressed optimism that Nigeria’s youth will make the nation proud at the forthcoming Olympics. He also commended FUTA’s athletes for always setting the pace and flying the flag of the university high at Sporting events.