The President, International Olympic Committee, Dr Thomas Bach has formally named Nigeria as the Olympics headquarters of Africa.
He made the declaration during the commissioning of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) building in Jahi, Abuja.
“Today, we are writing a sport history with the inauguration of the magnificent headquarters. You are establishing Abuja the capital of sports in Africa. With the inauguration, you are setting a new milestone of development of sports.
“You all know how close Africa is to Olympic movement. I am honored to share this historic moment with the entire Africa. This building is motivation, inspiration for the unity of sports in Africa,” he said.
He further expressed his belief in the Nigerian sports c community who according to him have kept the Olympic spirit alive.
“What impressed me most is seeing how much the Olympic spirit is alive here in Nigeria. I had meetings with the schools, athletes, government officials and I saw everyone living with the spirit. The athletes I spoke to have the attributes of true champions.
“The Vice President, Sports minister and every other government officials recognize the contributions of sports to a better society and a better future for the youths in the country,” he stated.
In his own submission, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare described the event as “a landmark in the development of sports on the continent of Africa. It is a day that the entire black race should be proud of. And as Nigerians, we are proud to be a major contributor to the actualization of this day.
“Aside the obvious fact of the Commissioning of the Building that would from today be the administrative and technical hub of sports administration on the continent, we also have in our midst, the leaders of the world governing body for sports, ably led by the President of the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Thomas Bach.
It will recalled that 13 years ago Nigeria alongside six other African countries bided to host the Headquarters of ANOCA and become the Olympic capital of Africa.
After a rigorous selection process, Nigeria was eventually selected as the Host Country for the umbrella body of the Olympic movement in Africa at the General Assembly, which took place in Kenya in June, 2006.
With the selection and signing of the Headquarters Cooperation Agreement on February 21, 2007, the ANOCA Secretariat, hitherto in Yaoundé, Cameroon was moved to Abuja, Nigeria.
While biding as a Host Country, the federal government had promised to build a benefiting Headquarters for the continental body whose foundation laying ceremony was performed on July 6, 2009, by Dr. Jacques Rogge, the immediate past President of the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC president arrived the country on Wednesday and departed shortly after commissioning the building.
Credit: The SportsBay.com