NIGERIAN athletes at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics are at loggerheads with sports officials over their allocation of phones given to competitors from each participating country by telecommunications giant and sponsor Samsung.
Samsung, who is one of the main sponsors of the games, handed out a special phone known as the Samsung S20+ 5G Olympics Games Athlete Edition, to each athlete competing at the Olympics. Valued at over $1,000, the procedure for collecting the phone was that each athlete was meant to go to Samsung office in Tokyo and using their Olympics accreditation tag collect their phones individually.
However, Team Nigeria officials reportedly collected the phones in bulk for all the athletes representing the country and have not handed them over. This has enraged the Nigerian athletes who are already smarting from the negligence of the officials over dope testing that led to 10 of them being banned from participating in the games.
Trouble started in the Team Nigeria camp on Wednesday when the Athletics Integrity Unit disqualified 10 Nigerian athletes from competing in the track and field events of the 2020 Olympics after failing to meet anti-doping requirements. One source in Tokyo, said the officials failed to give the 10 disqualified athletes their Samsung phones.
He added: “Each athlete at the Olympics is entitled to one Samsung phone. All they need to do is go to the Samsung office, scan their accreditation cards and get their phones but the Nigerian delegation, through a very senior ministry official, went to the Samsung office and took all the phones for Team Nigeria athletes.
“Now the athletes went to meet the official and he said, You are not competing, you can’t get a phone. But that’s not the rule, the rule says as long as you are an accredited Olympic athlete, you are meant to get a phone, it’s your right.
But they are holding the phones and they are not giving the athletes because of their incompetence at not making the athletes compete. It’s the incompetence of the federation and the ministry, who should have done the right thing by making sure that their three-out-of-10-competition tests is complete.”