Promises at least five gold medals

Following Nigeria’s dismal outing at the just concluded 2012 Olympic Games in London, the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, has vowed that the country will win at least five gold medals at the next Olympics slated for Rio de Janeiro.

Team Nigeria returned from London without a medal, prompting President Goodluck Jonathan to order the overhaul of the sport ministry and early preparations for the next edition.

Abdullahi assured that the president’s directive would be carried to the letter, adding that the results of preparations would be visible in two years.

?Mr. President believes if we start to work now we can win five gold medals in Rio in 2016. If we start to work towards that target, we may or may not meet it, but we must begin now to work towards it and believe it is possible,? he said.

?It seems we?re under pressure now; everybody is angry and outraged. But we must resist the temptation for reflex action. We can?t just start doing things because we want people to see that we?re responding to stimuli. That?ll be wrong and won?t be sustainable.

?Whatever we do now, we must begin to show result in two years time. That is why it is very good for us that the Commonwealth Games will be coming up in 2014 and we can use that to re-launch for the 2016 Games.?

Speaking on the plans to resurrect the country’s sports, Abdullahi said holistic measures were being perfected to ?identify children and talent that can compete well with the right age and exposure.

He further disclosed that the ministry was focusing on an eight-year-plan, with a bias for sports that would give Nigeria the opportunity to excel.

?We shouldn?t forget that football is very critical in Nigeria. We have the Nations Cup coming up in January in South Africa in 2013, and the World Cup in 2014. All these will provide the opportunity for us to begin to rebuild,” he said.

“We have to go back to the system that allows us to discover talents; the system that allows us to nurture them and allows us to give them the right exposure.”

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