The Nigerian team are hoping to make their mark at this year’s commonwealth games scheduled to begin today in Glasgow.
In a statement released by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the 127 strong delegation including 65 men and 62 women are ready to showcase their sporting talent to the world,competing against some of the world’s biggest names like Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.
As is often the case, most of the delegation comprise of the athletic team with 46 athletes in this year’s entourage.
Nigeria will be competing in 8 categories namely: Athletics, boxing, shooting, wrestling, weightlifting, table tennis, Para Athletics and Para Power lifting.
The team will be hoping to climb up the position ladder after coming 9th during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi where Nigeria won 33 medals including 11 gold, 8 silver and 14 bronze medals.
Previous outings have been marred by allegations of corruption as allegations of non payment to athletes before or after competitions are always rife. It is not clear how or if the team have prepared for the tournament as they go head to head with some of the world’s finest.
A source in the team’s camp in Scotland which spoke to Guardian Nigeria said that vital training euipment had not been made available to the team even as the team prepare to participate in the competition starting tomorrow.
“This is worst preparation I had ever seen because as at Monday, the equipment the athletes need is not even provided while the kits are not available,” he said.
“From the way I see things, the athletes will only try but they cannot perform any magic with the low morale. Despite the inability to prepare the athletes well for the games, the expected equipment that the athletes supposed to use are not even available for them to perfect their training before the commencement of the games.”
“This is not the way to win medals. Even countries that are not better than Nigeria are well kitted and ready to compete in Glasgow. I am even ashamed that when the games finish we will also go back to Abuja for another round of retreat,” said the official.
Organisers of this year’s event are hoping for a replica of the great summer and unity of the London 2012 Olympics although, the games are not on the same scale.
It is hoped the games will showcase all the greatness of Scotland and bring together all 53 member states of the commonwealth for the games which began in 1930.
There have been worries of empty seats in venues even though over a million tickets are said to have been sold, but organisers insist that this will not be an issue as ticket sales are still on going.
The Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive, Mike Hopper said: “The way in which the people of Scotland, Glasgow and the United Kingdom have embraced these Games has been absolutely fantastic. Are we concerned? No. I’m sure we’ll have availability up to the events themselves and that’s just the reality. But if you compare these Games to Melbourne in 2006, I think they’ll compare very, very favourably.”
Tonight’s opening ceremony is expected to be attended by The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Performers including Rod Stewart, Susan Boyle and Amy Macdonald are also expected to perform in front of a crowd of over 40, 000 people.
The opening ceremony begins tonight at 9pm.