Olabanji Oladapo, Secretary-General of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), says women have not been given their deserved dues in spite of their contributions to the country’s sports development.
Oladapo spoke on Tuesday in Lagos at an event to mark the United International Sports Day’s “Sports Development for Peace”, organised by the NOC.
He said both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and United Nations (UN) had decided to use Tuesday to celebrate all sports women and men across the world .
“IOC and UN have long been committed in using sports as a tool to promote peace and eradicate cultural barriers.
“If you look at women contributing to sports, I will say women have not really been given their dues.
“This event was possible today because the women had dillgently worked to make it possible.
“This development today symbolises a way of promoting and encouraging peace in the sports world in our society,” the NOC Secretary-General said.
He then contended that women at the ongoing 20th National Sports Festival in Edo would earn more medals than the men.
“Women participation in sports activities over the years really speaks volume.
“I am convinced that at ‘Edo 2020’, I believe we will have women winning more medals than the men.
“In the past five years, women participation in sports has grown tremendously,” Oladapo said.
He said the NOC would soon make some of the women part of its committee in due time.
Speaking also, Tayo Popoola, the Convener of Women Support for International Day for Sports for Development for Peace, said women needed to be empowered and encouraged more in sports activities.
“However, women are doing more in sports events than the men.”
She added that women all across the country should be given more opportunities like the men.
“As a woman, I feel we are trying and Nigeria as a country is also trying. But I feel we can do better .
“If it comes to sports, the people that are making the country proud are actually women.
“If you count the number of gold medals Nigeria have won, majority of the medals are from women.
“The country can do better by encouraging women. It can also empower women by engaging them in more sports activities.
“This will help reduce the number of crime in the society. I believe if we do this there will be peace,” Popoola said.
Chioma Ajunwa, an Olympic gold medalist, added that government needs to do more to promote sports in the country.
“Sports in Nigeria, however, lacks the peace it needs to grow.”
Ajunwa added that politics needed to be taken away from the sports federations to pave way for peace in different federations.
“The essence of this is to advocate for peace in all federations.
“Sports brings so much value to the athletes by giving them hope of getting to limelight.
“We have allowed politics to take away the peace of the sports world,” she said.(NAN)