The Roller Sports Federation of Nigeria (RSFN) says it will target to be the first African Country to represent the continent at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The federation’s Chairman, Technical Committee, Kings Kedron, who made the disclosure said on Thursday in Lagos that the skaters would be ready for the Olympics challenge.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had in August last year added Skateboard, Baseball/Softball, Karate, Sports Climbing and Surfing to the sports programme for the Olympics Games in Japan, tagged “Tokyo 2020’’.
The Tokyo Games will be the first time skateboarding has been included as an Olympic sport.
On the readiness of the RSFN for the African challenge in the qualifiers to the Summer Olympics, Kedron said that the federation would do all within its power to be among the first African representatives.
He said that the skaters from Nigeria were better off than their counterparts in other African countries as testified in their efforts at the just-concluded African Skating Challenge held in Togo.
“We went to the African Skating Championship in Lome, Togo, with high hopes and we came back with medals, five medals among the 15 countries that participated.
“Now, we are looking up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics which will come as a good challenge for us because from the experience we had in Togo we are better ranked.
“Nigeria boasts of fantastic athletes, I can assure you and the performance at the Lome was astonishing, though we went there with kits that are not up to date, still we came out stronger.
“We will like to be the first African representatives to the Olympics since the sport has been adopted by IOC as one of the sports for the Games,’’ he said.
Kedron said that the support from the government had so far been poor, adding that the federation had yet to receive any support from government save the heavy investment by the President, Joseph Evah.
“The problem we are having is not farfetched; we have yet to receive any support whatsoever from the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. All the money for the trip to Togo was funded by Evah.
“The President, Evah, has been the backbone of the federation since its inception and had been funding it out of his pocket. We need government to come in because it is a promising sport.
“Government can also concentrate on sports in which we absolutely have edge in. For instance, the sports almost got us medal at the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
“Nigeria is not afraid of any country as we are good and courageous to win. What we need right now is support from government and corporate bodies and we will deliver the medals,’’ he said.
Kedron said that Skateboarding in Nigeria had a vast youth appeal; hence it would be appreciated if adequate support was given to it.
“Youths love this game and we need to encourage them, they need exposure and kits to help them train and be on top.
“Skating in Nigeria is now at its peak because if we look at this African Challenge, with no support and still we got the kind of result we got, other African countries are trailing,’’ he said. (NAN)