The Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Sola Aiyepeku, on Friday said Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved N20 million for Lagos-based athletes going for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Aiyepeku told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the governor approved the grant as part of efforts aimed at improving sports activities in the state.
He said the grant was to help in their preparations for the Olympics and also to encourage them for keeping their faith in the state.
“The athletes are not aware of the plans of the Commission for them, but we have approached the governor on their behalf and he has approved N20 million for them.
“The governor approved the money so that each of the eight of them will get N2.5 million each as their training grant for participation in the 2020 Olympics.
“The athletes will all get their grant before the end of May so as to complement their preparations. This is to show the extent of love the state government has for its athletes,’’ Aiyepeku said.
He added that the state government wanted the best for its athletes and would continue to give them the best in terms of welfare and training facilities.
“During `Edo 2020′, we had the best welfare package for our athletes, and our equipment and kits were all rated as the best throughout the federation. Some states were even asking for our kits.
“Lagos will always develop athletes and we are working tirelessly to keep those we have discovered and developed with our facilities.”
Aiyepeku also said LSSC was working on how to reduce the practice of other states poaching their athletes.
“During the last national sports festival, we discovered during the table tennis games that out of about 40 of those who played, more than 20 of them were Lagos-trained athletes but representing other states.
“Right now, we will reduce such and those athletes that want to train in Lagos to represent other states using our facilities will be charged commercial rates,’’ he said.
The LSSC Director-General, Oluwatoyin Gafar, on his part also said the lessons from “Edo 2020” would help the commission prepare better for the next NSF, slated for Delta in 2022.
“We have learned a lot of lessons from Edo 2020, and they are part of the learning process for the next NSF in Delta, for which preparations have started in earnest.
“We will be improving on what we had at the last sports festival because we have a better time to prepare now than what we had the last time,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the LSSC had on Wednesday organised a grand reception for its athletes who participated at “Edo 2020” at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall, of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
Team Lagos State had finished fifth on the final medals table at “Edo 2020” with 32 gold, 40 silver and 54 bronze for a total haul of 126 medals.(NAN)