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Olympics: Enekwechi’s viral video was an attempt to embarrass Nigeria, says Dare

Olympics: Enekwechi’s viral video was an attempt to embarrass Nigeria, says Dare
August 09
20:05 2021

Sunday Dare, minister of youth and sports development, says the viral video of Chukwuebuka Enekwechi was “an attempt to create a media frenzy to embarrass Nigeria.”

Upon becoming the first Nigerian to qualify for the men’s shot put final at Tokyo Olympics, Enekwechi had posted a video on Instagram wherein he was seen washing his jersey.

He had also captioned the short footage with: “When you qualify for Olympic Finals, but you have only one jersey”.

The video had stirred up an avalanche of negative reactions from Nigerians who had already been riled up by the plethora of administrative laxity that the country’s athletes had already suffered at the Olympics.

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But in a statement on Monday, Dare said that the ministry received no complaints about the shortage of jerseys for track and field athletes until Enekwechi’s video was posted.

The sports minister also clarified that the ministry is solely responsible for the “general wears” of the entire Team Nigeria while “competition wear” is the duty of the sports federations.

“The ministry’s responsibility and that of the 38 National Sporting Federations, NSFs of kitting are well spelt out. The production of general wears for Team Nigeria is always the responsibility of the ministry of youth and sports development. Procurement for the competition wear is the responsibility of the respective federations because of the fact that each sport requires specialized outfits,” the statement read.

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“Boxing, wrestling, athletics and each of the federations need different wears. The ministry provides budgetary support to the federations.

“The quantity of competition wears given to each athlete is the decision of the particular federation. No complaints came to my notice until the Tik Tok Video posted by one of the athletes went viral. We immediately stepped in to manage the situation. The federation involved has been directed to provide a detailed explanation about the kit.

“The Tik Tok video on the issue was an attempt to create a media frenzy to embarrass Nigeria.”

In another unsavoury development, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) disqualified 10 Nigerian track and field athletes for failing to comply with the out-of-competition testing (OCT) requirement.

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The athletes were not allowed to compete at the Olympics due to administrative hiccups.

Reacting to the incident, the minister said he “bear the responsibility and brunt of the criticism,” adding that further investigation has been initiated into the matter.

“First is the mishap resulting in 10 Team Nigeria athletes being ruled ineligible to compete for missing their mandatory Out of Competition Test, OTC. When notice of this ruling got to me, I immediately mobilized my team and the AFN leadership to see how the situation could be salvaged,” he said.

“We mounted a vigorous appeal process with the Athletics Integrity Unit, AIU and had the team members complete the tests. However,  timing became a critical issue. Despite our energetic appeal, the deciding committee made its announcement which gave no latitude to our team members for what was only an inadvertent lapse.

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“As the minister, I must bear some institutional responsibility for this lapse.  I also had to depend and expect that each person in the long and often technical chain will perform their role expeditiously and with precision. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, someone failed in their responsibility, and as a minister, I bear the responsibility and brunt of the criticism.

“But that is not enough. I must move to ensure that Nigeria never experiences another such moment. I have ordered a full investigation that will not only uncover what happened but will also recommend a process where such lapses can never occur in the future and initiate leveraging compliance monitoring technology to guardrail this.”

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