The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, said on Tuesday that his office has applied to the Federal Government for the release of N2billion to augment funds for the 2016 Olympics.
Dalung spoke in Abuja at a stakeholders meeting on Team Nigeria’s preparation for the forthcoming 2016 Olympics, scheduled to begin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 5.
He said that the N2billion would augment the N500 million earlier set aside by the Federal Government for the games.
“We have applied for additional funding for Rio because the 500million voted for it will be insufficient; we have applied based on the needs we have.
“We are asking the FG if funds will be available to augment our budget for Rio with at least about N2billion based on the competitions, commitments and responsibilities bothering on our participation.
“If we get as applied, it will help and if we get less than that, we can still manage because we are aware of the situation in the country.
“The president has made his commitment for Rio 2016 and I don’t think there is anything we need more than that commitment.
“We are sourcing our funds as it is expected, and we will definitely move when it is time to move, but we have written and whether we will get the money is another thing.
“Currently we are pursuing the approval which the president has directed, and until that is done, I cannot tell you how much we have; we will tell Nigerians how much the president approved when it’s done,’’ Dalung said.
He said that official handing over of Team Nigeria athletes would be made by President Buhari to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) on July 19, at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Dalung noted that over 95 athletes have so far qualified for the 2016 Olympics, saying that he was satisfied with the athletes’ preparation for the games.
The minister pointed out that a monitoring team had been set up to monitor the athletes’ preparation.
He also said that efforts had been geared towards ensuring that Nigerian athletes do not indulge in doping, noting that the NOC was working towards redeeming the country’s image after a dismal 2012 Olympics outing.
Dalung assured Nigerians that Team Nigeria would win at least five medals at the 2016 Olympics, going by the financial support given to the athletes by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
He also explained that the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) contributed to the training of some Nigerian athletes for the Olympics.
Dalung said: “the realistic target for Rio is five medals and the athletes must not come back with anything less, but we are looking at winning 10 to 15 medals.
“IOC and ANOCA all together gave 25 Nigerian athletes scholarship for the 2016 Olympics; 11 of them came through IOC, while 14 came through ANOCA.