Odegbami: Eye on Tokyo 2020 – DAY 3

Odegbami: Eye on Tokyo 2020 – DAY 3

The Empty Camp.

Suddenly, the atmosphere and dynamics of the Olympics and the Games Village, in particular, have changed since the actual matches began.

The public protests, the fears of unrest, the threat of Corona Virus, all have vaporised since the first medals were contested for and won or lost. The spirit of Olympism has taken over, a period of Global Truce when all warring nations and factions around the world lay down their arms, set aside their differences, and cease all conflicts and fighting around the world, and allow the friendly games to take place.

The figures have not been compiled, but the number of those watching the various games all over the world on television and on-line must be in the billions.

‘The Eye’ is surfing around Tokyo, watching out for the unusual, those little things that go uncovered and unreported inside the Nigerian contingent.

Odegbami: Eye on Tokyo 2020 – DAY 2

Understandably, there is a little dampening of spirit in the Nigerian Camp. Several of the athletes have already completed their assignments here after Day 2, with painful defeats in several sports. Only Edem Offiong’s victory on table tennis stands out, for now.

The basketball teams that lifted the general spirit of the contingent when they arrived on the day of the opening ceremony have suffered defeats.  The consolation for the men’s team is that it was against the only team they lost to enroute the Olympics – Australia. So, psychologically, it was expected, and all is not lost.

With the start of most competitions majority of the sports venues are filling up with athletes, team officials and officiating officials, just as the games village is emptying of the same people.

*Hon. Minister of Sports, Chief Sunday Dare, (second from the right) and other officials at a venue watching Nigerian athletes competing. The empty terraces at the back, speak volumes

The happy mood of anticipation of last week has shifted to anxiety for those still performing, pain for those that have lost, and celebration and joy for those that are winning.

In the Nigerian camp the pain is palpable.
It is very hard to meet and socialise with most of the athletes any more.

The compulsory port of call for them is the restaurant. All athletes pass through here. This is the best place to see and probably meet with stars, superstars and Megastars of sports. But remember, at the Olympics all athletes are stars, but to varying degrees.

Here too, the sight of Nigerian athletes is very rare.

It is not certain that the Minister of Sports and the major officials spoke collectively to the contingent, lifted their spirits, and given them strict orders about what to avoid, the first of which is the array of food in the restaurant.

The restaurant poses a great risk to all athletes.  If athletes do not have serious self-control and discipline, they could eat themselves out of shape and out of medals. Food is the greatest temptation at the Olympics.
Wisely, the Nigerian contingent have avoided the temptation like a plague.

The hostels are now mostly empty during the day. The Nigerian athletes are at different venues, training, cheering their colleagues, or competing.

So, ‘the Eye’ roams around for a quick run through the Village, two days into the competition-proper.
What did it find on this beautiful Sunday?
All of that, tomorrow.

Segun Odegbami 

Scroll to Top