The Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) has expressed concerns over the potential absence of 75 Nigerian athletes at the forthcoming World University Games in China.
After a successful trial in May at the University of Benin, NUGA faces a no-show because of a lack of funds.
Nigeria’s contingent was primed to compete in seven out of the 15 compulsory sports at the Biennial World University Games, including Track and Field, Swimming, Badminton, Judo, Taekwondo, Table Tennis, and Tennis.
However, NUGA revealed on Tuesday that they have yet to receive the necessary funds to support the athletes during the 12-day competition.
Chidibiere Ezeani, the Acting General Secretary of NUGA, made an emotional appeal in the statement, urgently seeking financial assistance from the government.
She emphasised the importance of investing in university athletes, as they represent the future of Nigerian sports, and their success will inspire generations to come.
Ms Ezeani further highlighted the significance of the World University Games as a platform to showcase Nigerian talent to the world.
She expressed fear that, without adequate funding, these promising young athletes may be deprived of the opportunity to shine on the international stage.
“The World University Games is not just about sporting excellence, but also about cultural exchange and global camaraderie among student-athletes around the world,” stated Ms Ezeani.
“It is an opportunity for Nigeria to demonstrate our sporting prowess, enhance our international reputation, and inspire future generations of athletes.”
NUGA urgently calls upon the government, sports authorities, and corporate sponsors to step forward and provide the necessary financial support to ensure Nigeria’s participation in the World University Games.
The association believes timely assistance can empower the country’s talented athletes, enabling them to represent Nigeria with pride, resilience, and determination.
Ms Ezeani concluded by expressing concerns that the lack of funding might adversely affect the athletes’ preparation, considering that the competition will begin in just a month.
Time is of the essence, and NUGA is calling on those in authority to recognise the vital role university athletes play in shaping the future of Nigerian sports.
“By investing in their journey to Chengdu, Nigeria will not only develop its sports sector but also inspire generations to come,” she noted.
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