By tony Ubani reporting from London
As the zero hour approaches swiftly for the all-important Athletics event of the London Olympics which starts today, Sports Minister Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has reminded Team Nigeria that no athlete can achieve success without discipline, a good attitude and making sacrifices.
The Minister who spoke to the contingent alongside President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr Sani Ndanusa, Chef de Mission, Dr Patrick Ekeji, NOC Scribe, Hon Tunde Popoola, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu and Deputy Chief de Mission, Al-Hassan Yakmut warned that no athlete can achieve success without discipline.
‘’Where there are difficult personal relationships, discipline is down and it is difficult to succeed. We don’t want you to lose but if you must lose, it must not be to other factors outside the pitch – like staying out late at night”.
The Minister also harped on attitude and said; ‘’no country can succeed with bad attitude. We are here because of Nigeria. If we take pride in our country, it comes first and we should learn to make sacrifices. I saw 15 year-olds, 19 year-olds defy impossibilities and make sacrifices as teenagers.
This is first about you. People still remember Nojeem Maiyegun who won the first Olympic bronze medal for the country in 1964. We remember him but none of you can remember who was the Minister of sports in 1964. I was not born then but we remember Maiyegun because of what he achieved.
They achieved immortality. If you win, you will always be remembered but nobody will remember the Minister of sport. It is all about you.
Nigeria has won medals since Barcelona Olympics and I pray that you will not be the generation of athletes who will break that order by not winning a medal. You stand on the threshold of history and we still have great chance to do well”. A sporadic applause followed.
Responding, Team Captain of Team of Nigeria, Chika Chukwumerije thanked the Minister and his team and said that his advise has been well received. He assured that Team Nigeria have 10 days to get things right. ‘’We must believe in our heart what we want to achieve.
By August 12, Team Nigeria will have a lot to cheer about”, the Beijing Olympics bronze medalist assured and the athletes concurred with a resounding applause.
The Minister thereafter met personally with the athletes and the atmosphere became double-charged as the athletes get ready to rumble on the tracks of the London Olympics.