… We didn’t ask athletes to buy tickets —Dalung

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung has said there was no directive or an e-mail message that foreign-based athletes representing Nigeria at the forthcoming Rio Olympics should buy their own air tickets.

He made this known in a statement made available to Tribunesport and signed by Nneka Anibeze, the Special Assistant, Media to the sports minister, that following a purported mail asking athletes to buy their tickets to the Olympics and which was said to have originated from the ministry.

Dalung stated that the Director, High Performance Angie Taylor has been saddled with the responsibility of arranging for the flights and movement of the foreign-based athletes to and from Rio.

“We did not write any mail (message) asking athletes to pay their way to Rio. As the overseers of sports in the country, it is our duty to take care of all our athletes. The letter did not come from us and we will investigate the writer of that letter. It does not represent our stand concerning the movement of athletes to Rio and the writer or anybody asking athletes to buy their tickets to Rio will be investigated. We ask Nigerians and athletes in particular to disregard the mail,” Dalung said.

He regretted the embarrassment caused by the letter and asked athletes to remain focused on their build-up to the Rio 2016.

Effort by Tribunesport to speak with the Secretary General of the Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC), Mr Tunde Popoola on the issue was unsuccessful, as he was said to have travelled to Brazil, preparatory to the Games.