Nigerian athletes staged a protest in Tokyo after 10 of them were disqualified from taking part in the track and field events of the Olympics 2021.
The protesting athletes carried placards with the inscription “Why should we suffer for someone else’s negligence”, “All we wanted to do was compete”, and “We are not just alternates but potential medalists.”
“We are not just alternates, but potential medallists”, “Dreams shattered”, “10 out of 23, we can’t continue this way” were also some of the inscriptions on the placards carried by the protesting Nigerian athletes.
The athletes who protested are Ruth Usoro, Favour Ofili, Annette Echikunwoke, Chioma Onyekwere, Glory Patrick, Chidi Okezie, Tima Godbless, Rosemary Chukwuma, Yinka Ajayi and Knowledge Omovoh.
The Athletics Integrity Unit disqualified Usoro, Ofili and eight other athletes after they failed to conduct the mandatory three out-of-competition tests before the Olympics.
The Nigerian athletes represented 50 per cent of the total number of athletes disqualified globally for violating OCT regulations.
The athletes, including those that were not disqualified, further took to social media to express their disappointment at Nigerian sports administrators. They expressed their disappointment at a range of issues.
But as per a statement on Friday signed by Dr Simon Ebhojiaye, the Director Federation of Elites athletes Department (DFEAD), the Ministry said it is abreast of the situation and is addressing them.
"Payment of various allowances commenced since last week and is ongoing. The Ministry is looking into some of the issues raised by the athletes and they are being addressed as quickly as possible," DFEAD's release read.
"The Minister (Sunday Dare) on Thursday morning in a meeting spoke directly with the 10 track and field athletes who will not be competing and assured them of their welfare. He apologized to them for the unfortunate development that led to their exclusion and promised that it would be fully investigated.
"In the same vein, the Minister intervened over the International Olympic Committee (IOC) packs for the athletes. Working with the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), the Minister and the NOC President on Friday morning were able to secure approval. No official of Team Nigeria or NOC took away the entitlements of any athlete. None was being wrongly reported.
"Therefore issue over the phone was resolved administratively according to the IOC Rule and guidelines. Team Nigerian officials acted in line with IOC standards and as soon as approval was received, the right thing was done.
"IOC approved that the 10 Nigerian athletes receive Samsung Galaxy S21 5G. The letter of approval for their release was signed by Jonas Brun, Junior Project Manager, NOC Relations/ NOC Services."