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Egbunike hopes for medals at Olympics

10 July 2012, 09:05

 London - Mr Innocent Egbunike, Chief coach of Team Nigeria on Monday  expressed hope that  Nigeria will pick a medal in the 4x400 metres relay at the London Olympics.

"The women’s team is capable," Egbunike, a 1984  Olympic medallist said in an interview with the Europe Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in London.

"In Blessing Okagbare, we have one of the best female sprinters in the world and we have others. So when they come together as a team, they can put it out there and our goal is that they get a medal," he said.

Egbunike said that Team Nigeria was in London to give their best as they had worked hard to qualify, adding "these women have become an inspiration to me".

"The biggest goal is to have the athletes at the highest possible level of fitness and for them to make the finals of their events. When they get that far, it’s anybody’s race.

"Many of them have sacrificed a lot to get to this level and some of them have been away for three, four or five months. We believe they’ll do very well," Egbunike said.

Quarter miler, Idara Otu expressed optimism that she and her teammates would make Nigeria proud.

"I'm expecting us to make the podium," Otu told NAN.

Ambassador Olwatoyin Lawal, Deputy Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, has urged the team to be disciplined and avoid scandal during the Games.

Lawal made the remarks at a reception organised by the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK) to welcome Team Nigeria and officials to London.

"Representing Nigeria comes with a lot of responsibility. As flag bearers, you owe Nigeria a duty to be scandal free," Lawal said.

Also, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, President of Nigeria Olympic Committee, said more than 50 athletes qualified for the London Olympics, an indication that Nigeria was not only a football loving nation.

"The Olympics is the highest competition in the universe and it is based on qualifications outside of football. I'm glad that more than 50 people from Nigeria qualified.

"By the grace of God, we will be in the gold medal zone which has eluded us for more than eight years," he said.

Earlier, Mr Bimbo Folayan, CANUK Chairman in his welcome address assured the team of "home support" from Nigerians in the UK.



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