Succour has come the way of 11 Nigerian athletes ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo after they were listed in the latest International Olympic Committee scholarship scheme.
This is less than the number of Nigerian beneficiaries in the previous scheme as 12 athletes including Nigeria's track queen Blessing Okagbare, Ese Brume, Ejowkoghene Divine Oduduru, and Adekuoroye all benefitted from the IOC scholarship.
This time, fast rising 100 metres hurdler and reigning Commonwealth Games gold medalist Oluwatobiloba Ayomide Amusan and Portugal based table tennis star Aruna Quadri top the list.
The deal brokered by the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), also include Commonwealth Games wrestling champion in the 53kg category, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Blessing Oborodudu (wrestling) and Nathaniel Glory Onome (athletics), Nathaniel Samson (athletics).
Others include Adeniyi Aminat (wrestling), Adesanmi Oluwatoyin (weightlifting), Italy based table tennis talent, Omotayo Olajide and taekwondo duo of Adamu Abubakar and Otuadinma Uzoamaka.
NOC President, Engr. Habu Gumel described the latest gesture from IOC as a welcome development that will go a long way in exposing the athletes to quality training facilities, specialized coaches, regular medical and scientific assistance, as well as lodging costs and travel to Olympic qualification competitions.
"These 11 athletes were carefully selected out of the numerous applications from Nigerian athletes home and abroad. We would have wanted more slots, but we just had to make do with the available slots given to Nigeria by IOC," Gumel said.
Gumel therefore appealed to corporate organizations to support and sponsor Nigerian athletes which will ease the burden on the Federal Government, sports federations and individual athletes as they prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Games.