Former Director General of National Sports Commission (NSC), Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, has been named the Chef de Mission for the Nigerian delegation to the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. The Games are scheduled to hold between February 9 and 28.
President of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) Habu Gumel announced the appointment yesterday at the Cheering Event and Presentation of the Olympic Torch to the contingent by the Korean Cultural Centre in Abuja.
The torch was presented to the Director of Elite Athletes Department of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mrs Tayo Oreweme, by the Director of the Korean centre, Han Sungrae.
Nigeria will be represented by four female athletes: Simidele Adeagbo, Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwueme and Akuoma Omeoga in Skeleton and Bobsleigh.
According to Gumel, the athletes, all incidentally based in the USA, will arrive Nigeria today before heading to South Korea.
Apart from Elegbeleye, Gumel said two coaches, the President of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria and officials of NOC will accompany the team to the Games.
“This is a moment of joy for me because I recall I was envious seeing Ghanaian and Tunisian athletes make the maiden appearance for Africa in the 2010 Winter Olympic in Vancouver, Canada.
“I want to assure Nigerians that this is the beginning as NOC will do everything humanly possible to encourage the athletes so that they can inspire a new generation of athletes to the next Winter Olympic Games,” Gumel said.
The NOC president also added that though Nigeria does not experience the winter weather, government is keen to attend the Games because of effect of climate change, which could also impact on Nigerian sports in the future.
“Apart from that, Nigeria is a big country with talented athletes and should participate in all major sporting events whether the Summer, Winter, Youths or Paralympics Games.”
Elegbeleye lauded the patriotism of the four female athletes for choosing to represent Nigeria, when they could have opted to represent USA or other nations.
He called for the emulation of this feat by other Nigerian youths.