Pentathlon Youth Olympics qualifier: 20 countries to participate, LOC official says VO

No fewer than 20 countries are expected to participate in the Pentathlon Youth Olympics qualifier holding in Lagos, an official of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) said on Tuesday.

Jonathan Nnaji, Vice President of the LOC for the Modern Pentathlon Youth Olympics qualifier, Africa and Senior African Championship, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

NAN reports that both events have been scheduled to hold from Dec. 5 to Dec. 11.

Nnaji said no fewer than 20 Nigerian athletes were already in camp ahead of the qualifier, adding that some equipment meant for the tournament had arrived from Germany.

“Presently our athletes are in camp. They are 20 in number, alongside four coaches, and we are expecting our foreign technical man who is expected in the country by today to condition the team.

“The athletes have been training three to four times daily and are in high spirits now. I believe we are good to go, with the LOC Chairman (Francis Ogboro) solidly behind us.

“We have also just received some equipment.

“The pentathlon comprises of five disciplines of sports. It has to do with swimming, horse riding, shooting, fencing and athletics.

“Most of the equipment for the event have arrived from Germany and Italy. We have received and cleared them and they are now in our store.

“Some guns and other equipment also arrived on Sunday,” he said.

Nnaji also said 16 countries have so far registered for the event with four more expected to join before the Dec. 5 opening ceremony date.

“The teams from various countries will start arriving from Dec. 3, with the President of the African Confederation also expected to arrive on that same day. The deadline for arrival is Dec. 4.

“Some of the countries expected include South Africa, Mauritius, Madagascar, Uganda and Senegal. We are also expecting countries like Algeria, Egypt and a host of others.

“We are organising two events, namely: the Youth Olympics qualifier and the Senior African Pentathlon tournament.

“The Youth Olympics qualifier is expected to prepare African countries that will be going for the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina next year.

“It will start on Dec. 5, while the tournament for the seniors will hold from Dec. 8 to Dec. 11.

“In the junior event, there is no horse riding because underage children are involved. But the senior ones will do the five disciplines,” he said.

The LOC vice-president revealed that the committee had reached out to several corporate bodies and some wealthy Nigerians.

He said this was to make possible the attainment of the N75m target needed for a successful hosting of the event.

“We, members of the LOC, are not leaving the task to the marketing consultants. We are all reaching out to complement their efforts and with our chairman solidly behind us we are sure of reaching our target,” Nnaji said.

Victor Okoye