The first batch of Team Nigeria athletes to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham left the country on Friday.
A group left through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, while the other left through the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja.
The Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) Engineer Habu Gumel and the Chef de Mission to the Games, Dr Simon Ebhojiaye were on hand to see off the team that left through Abuja.
The Minister charged the athletes to be focused, disciplined and conscious of the fact that they are carrying the aspirations and hopes of over 200 million Nigerians.
“I want to urge you to be disciplined,” Dare told the athletes, “if you have any complaints, the Ministry has outlined how they can be resolved. There are just three layers for conflict resolution now and by the time you are getting to that third layer, then you are getting to me.”
The Minister also emphasiszed the zero tolerance policy against doping, and the need for the athletes to be clean and fair.
“Only last week, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) commended us for our zero tolerance stance against doping and the seriousness we have attached to our anti doping campaign. Our increased number of testings and drive to do things right are some of the things you should reflect at this Games.
“So as you leave for the Commonwealth Games, remember to be good ambassadors of our dear country and strive to do us proud,” he added.
Ninety four athletes and twenty one officials will be representing Nigeria in nine sports at the 2022 Commonwealth Games starting next week in Birmingham, United Kingdom.