The International Olympic Committee has fixed a new date for the completion of the Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers.
The move presents another opportunity for athletes from Nigeria and other countries, whose qualifiers had yet to be completed, to compete at the games.
The Tokyo Olympics was moved from 2020 to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement from the office of the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, signed by the minister’s aide on information, John Joshua-Akanji, said the new date erased a cloud of uncertainty that had enveloped the participation of athletes for the Games.
It said, “The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics by a year as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 scourge had cast a shadow of doubt over most of the qualifiers that were yet to be completed.
“Respite has however come for Nigerian athletes, alongside their counterparts from other countries that were yet to complete their qualifiers, as the IOC has fixed new dates for the qualifiers.
“According to a letter writtent to all members of the International Olympic Committee, non-completed qualifiers have now been extended till the end of June 2021, a week grace before the final deadline of July 5, 2021, 18 days before the Olympics gets underway on July 23, 2021.”
The statement said 57 per cent of the 11,000 athletes that would take part at the Tokyo Olympics had already qualified before the event was moved by a year due to the pandemic, noting that IOC said it would finalise the adapted qualification system later in the month.
The statement added that the minister, Sunday Dare, expressed joy at the development, saying that funds would be made available to federations to prepare.
“We are excited that the IOC has granted this concession so that those qualifiers can be completed. This will give the athletes ample time to prepare. Also, we now have enough time to make funds available to the sports federations that had yet to complete their qualifiers. We are monitoring all our athletes and we believe they are training well despite the lockdown.”