By Ben Efe
Sports enthusiast and entertainment entrepreneur Joseph Odobeatu, has said Nigeria can win 20 gold medals in different sports at the Olympics, if government at all levels and private concerns can make sports development a priority.
Odobeatu, who is chairman of the Ojez group, made the disclosure while speaking at the unveiling of the Railway Guest House in Ebute Meta Lagos.
He submitted that there are talents all over the country and all Nigeria needs to do to be in the top bracket of world sports is to harness those potentials through deliberately thought out programmes.
“Nigeria can win 20 Olympics gold medals. The potentials are always there,” said Odobeatu.
“We need to upgrade our facilities to begin with and the sports ministry is doing its best in this regard.
“And then we need to set up a deliberate programme that will embark on talent hunt around the country.
“I tell you that there are talents everywhere in the cities, in the villages. We just need to get to work and groom them to international standards.
“We need to house those talents. And then get coaches who will concentrate on training these athletes all year round.”
Speaking on the newly commissioned Railway Guest House, a 40-bed, conference hall and swimming pool facility, Mr. Odobeatu said the edifice, apart from driving tourism and hospitality, would also be opened to sports men and women.
“It is ideal for the camping of our national teams, athletes and officials.
“It is not far from the National and Teslim Balogun stadia and other sporting venues.
“And there is a standard gym and swimming pool that will come in handy for athletes training for any sports event.”
Ojez won the right to manage the Railway Guest after outbidding 30 other interests.
The Ojez group, it would be recalled, also successfully revamped the National Stadium Surulere Swimming pool complex.