Team Nigeria eye Olympic spots at African Games


Nigerian athletes will hope to punch early tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as there will be qualifiers in eight sports at the African Games — athletics, badminton, cycling, boxing, swimming, table tennis, triathlon and wrestling — to pick spots in the global sports showpiece.

The 13th African Games will be held in Ghana from March 8 to 23.

The other sports include arm wrestling, basketball (3×3), beach volleyball, chess, cricket, football, handball, mixed martial arts and scrabble.

According to the Ministry of Sports Development, Team Nigeria’s contingent to the Games will open camp on Thursday February 15 in five states across the country.

The camping bases are in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Gombe, and Bayelsa. Abuja, the country’s capital, will accommodate athletes participating in athletics, arm wrestling, badminton, basketball, football, hockey, rugby, swimming, taekwondo, tennis, weightlifting and volleyball.

Lagos will serve as the campsite for beach volleyball, cricket, handball, table tennis, mixed martial arts, and triathlon. Ibadan will host boxing, chess, scrabble, judo, and karate. Bayelsa will cater to the wrestling team, while Gombe will provide facilities for the cycling team.

Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Enoh, charged the sports federations to ensure a successful outing for Nigeria in their various events.

“I urge you all to give your utmost effort and guide your federations towards achieving exceptional results in Ghana. We bear the responsibility of upholding our nation’s flag and bringing pride to our people,” Enoh told federation presidents during a meeting in Abuja on Monday.

At the last edition in Morocco, Nigeria finished second in the overall medals table with a haul of 127 medals — 46 gold, 33 silver and 48 bronze.

Available data also show that Nigeria remains the second most-successful nation, still behind Egypt in the history of the Games with a total of 1326 medals won across 12 editions held every four years.