ABUJA – Nigeria’s Consul General in Shanghai Ayo Otepola has said that the decision of Team Nigeria to withdraw from the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, is in the “best interest’’ of the country.
Nigerian athletes, who are in China for the Youth Olympics, have been quarantined and barred from training because of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the West Africa region.
This forced a withdrawal of Team Nigeria from the competition.
Otepola told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone in Abuja, that the decision by the Nigeria’s sport authorities to pull out of the games was taken in “free-will and best interest of Nigeria’’.
“Nigeria is not a country of origin in the outbreak of the Ebola virus, the circumstances of the first index case was from a Liberian-American who brought the virus to Nigeria. [eap_ad_1] “I congratulate the Nigeria Olympic committee here on how they have handled the issue and I will be in Nanjing on Friday to coordinate our withdrawal,’’ he said.
Otepola said he was in Shanghai to receive the team when they arrived in China on Aug. 12.
According to him, medical checks by the Chinese authorities on all the athletes and officials at the point of entry showed no sign of exposure to Ebola virus.
The diplomat said he did not understand why the team was prevented from training like other athletes participating in the competition.
“Considering the age of athletes, they are very young and many of them were travelling out of the country for the first time, I think they were psychologically affected by what they met in China.
“I won’t really say they were stigmatised because the Chinese authorities had informed us of their plans to screen visitors from the affected West Africa countries with confirmed cases of Ebola,’’ he said.
The Youth Olympics was scheduled to hold from Aug. 16 to Aug. 28 and Team Nigeria registered to participate in three sports, including athletics, wrestling and beach volleyball, with twelve athletes. (NAN)