Naija Foodie Update


As Team Nigeria joins over 206
countries in the quest for Olympic glory
at the Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil,
there are mounting challenges facing
the country’s contingent as it battles to
exorcise the ghost of London 2012
Olympics where the most populous
black nation in the world took pride in
participation only.
The lack of adequate preparation for the
team is enough to scuttle any podium
appearance for the athletes.
Beyond that, however, is the massive
dining hall at the athletes’ village where
60,000 meals per day would be served
24 hours daily. The smell, taste and
availability of the food, no doubt can
lead some athletes especially Africans,
astray by way of heavy consumption.
And that is the fear of former Olympic
bronze medalist Falilat Ogunkoya. She
saw it happen before and she is afraid it
may occur again.
”Without control, some athletes will fall
prey to the appealing, mouth-watering,
delicious and palatable continental
dishes on offer at the dining hall”, Chief
Falilat said, adding that ‘’this is the first
step our officials should take to ensure
that athletes do not eat voraciously.
They should be guided”, Falilat insisted.
Brazil has already promised to spoil
athletes and officials with dinner tables
that are well known by foreigners with
dishes like rice and black beans,
barbecued steak and coconut water as
well as farofa, tapioc, acai, brigadeiro or
pao de queijo.
Falilat warns that Team Nigerian officials
should ensure that our athletes do not
indulge in these food. “There is that
temptation for an athlete to eat as much
since it is going to be open for 24
hours. Our athletes should be guided so
that they don’t spend much of their time
at the dining. Some countries have
nutritionists who accompany their
athletes and advice them on what to eat.
But African athletes are always on their
own. And the first reaction to these
enticing food is to descend on them. We
should not make that mistake again”,
Falilat advised.
About 18,000 people (athletes, coaches
and technical staff) will be housed in the
village during the Olympic Games, with
another 7,000 due for the Paralympic
Games. A team of approximately 2,500
people, will be working around the
clock to ensure they are served healthy,
balanced and tasty meals. While there
will be various options, such as Italian,
Asian, African ‘tastes of the world’, the
hosts hope that their guests will give
the ‘home cooking’ a try.
Chief Falilat Ogunkoya said that
notwithstanding the low level
preparation of Team Nigeria, that some
athletes are going to push themselves to
the limit for national glory.
”The athletes know that this is the
moment they have been waiting for.
They’ll give everything into it and
anything can happen in sports. I am
optimistic that Team Nigeria will hit the
Bull’s eye at Rio”, she said with a broad


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