By Alexander Johson Adejoh
Nigeria’s preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games has been given a major boost by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, following his adoption of quatermiler, Orukpe Eraiyokan.
Obaseki made a final financial commitment for the adoption of the UK-based athlete after a meeting with the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare in Benin last Friday.
Eraiyokan is the eighth fastest quatermiler in Nigerian History and just the eighth man to run inside 45 seconds over the distance following the 44.95 seconds he ran to win the second semi-final of the event at the 2015 African Games in Brazaville,Congo.
The 27 year old will however need to run faster than his 44.95 seconds personal best to make the qualification standard set by World Athletics for the event at the Tokyo Olympics.
He is yet to compete this season but ran 46.42 seconds to win at the Test the Track Competition held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City last year March before he returned to London.
He was a member of the Nigeria’s 4x400m relay team that ran 3:03.42 seconds to place third at the 2019 African Games and should also make the 1600 relay team to the Olympics for his consecutive appearance at the quadrennial event.
Eraiyokan expressed appreciation to the Minister and the Edo State Governor for the confidence reposed in him, assuring that he would not let the country down.
The athlete is expected to compete for Edo State at the National Sports Festival which holds from April 2nd-14th 2021 to fine tune his preparations for the Olympics.
Several athletes were on the verge of being adopted last year before the Covid-19 pandemic led to the shut down of businesses and sporting activities in Nigeria and across the globe.
The Adoption-A-Talent programme is an initiative of the Sports Minister to secure funding for athletes to enable them prepare for the Olympics.