The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, has said that the upgrade and renewal of sports infrastructure around the country remains a top priority for the Ministry.
He said this while fielding questions from journalists on preparations of athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The Minister added that the welfare of athletes will not take the back seat under his leadership.
“Starting from their welfare, starting from the needed funds, making sure that we line them up to be at the different championships and trials they must attend, we are working with Federations to build up a calendar to also try and get the necessary funding in time to support our Federations but also to support our athletes directly and that’s why we came up with the Adopt an Athlete initiative,” he said.
On the efforts to improve Stadia across the country and how it would contribute to turning the fortunes of sports in Nigeria, he said,
“We will not have overnight changes between the coming batches and I dare say perhaps, those going to the Tokyo Olympics 2020 might not benefit directly from our efforts in the preparations of infrastructural renewal. It will take time but we have begun in earnest since last year.
“Infrastructural rationalization is critical to sports development but not just the brick and mortar structures we have in the main bowl but also, do we have requisite equipments? Modern digital sporting equipment’s that our athletes can use to improve their skills. So we have a plan and it is also embedded within the Adoption Campaign Initiative.
“Beyond that, we are also making a case to carry out an audit of all our sporting infrastructures and also see which ones are critical that we can marshal funds to fix and optimize their advantage for our athletes. We will see that happen in the next several weeks, in which we are going to go to Government to say we want X number of facilities, we think X number can be upgraded, can be maintained and will serve our athletes across the country” the Minister assured.
By Hanifat Mustapha