Nigerian Olympians have warned their compatriots to be moderate medal expectations at the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The rescheduled 2020 Olympics holds from July 23 to August 8.
Nigeria has won just one medal (bronze in 2016) at the last two Games.
The country’s preparation for the 2020 Games has left much to be desired and with the country failing to qualify for football and boxing, which are among the country’s most successful events at the multi-sports showpiece, the Olympians argued that expectations from sports-loving fans should be moderate.
Retired boxer Isaac Ikhouria, a bronze medalist at the 1972 Games in Munich, said winning a medal at the Olympics was not by luck, but quality preparation, which he added, had been lacking in recent years, despite the abundant talents at the country’s disposal.
“In the past, there were plans for athletes preparing for the Olympics, which we don’t have now. You can’t keep athletes till two, three months before the Games and expect them to win an Olympic medal. Even if you take them to the best international tournaments.
“The time for preparation should be a minimum of four years for adequate preparation for the Games,” the 73-year-old former national boxing coach added.
Cathrine Ekuta, who represented Nigeria in the judo event of the 2004 Games in Athens added, “We can’t be doing the same things and expect a different result, I don’t really have much to say about our medal chances.”
Beijing 2008 silver-winning goalkeeper, Ambrose Vanzekin said, “I think the COVID-19 outbreak has affected their preparations, but without football, it will be difficult to count on other sports to bring back a medal. We can only hope and pray but good preparations win medals.”
Athletics, basketball, judo, canoeing, wrestling, weightlifting, table tennis, taekwondo and rowing are some of the sports Nigeria will compete in at the Games.