…Ebewele, Aliu Blame Woes On Lack Of Adequate Preparation, Motivation For Athletes
Barely a week after the Olympic Games flagged off in faraway Tokyo Japan, there are already telling signs that it may yet prove to be Nigeria’s worst outing in the prestigious summer games.
Sadly, the hope of Nigerians to see the country’s flag hoisted at the medals stand looks like a mirage yet again and the handwriting on the wall became obvious after a country of about 200 million population still struggled to qualify for certain events at the Olympic Games.
Following the dismal performance in London, former President Goodluck Jonathan ordered a “total and comprehensive” overhaul of the country’s sports system to restore its “past glory,” according to his then information minister,
But despite such a lofty goal, nothing has changed with the situation going from bad to worse.
Recall that the country’s football teams, Nigeria’s Under-23 also known as Dream Team, and the Super Falcons failed to qualify for the ongoing Olympic Games. The two teams were knocked out during the qualifying campaigns respectively.
Again, Nigeria’s boxing team’s inability to participate at the Games was also due to the cancellation of the 2021 World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Paris in June, due to COVID-19 concerns. Boxing has contributed six medals (three silver and three bronze) to the country’s entire medal haul, only second to athletics (13). But it’s sad the team was not at the showpiece.
Interestingly, at the Games proper, the story has not changed as some Nigerian athletes featuring in events such as Tennis, Rowing, Badminton, Swimming, Gymnastics, Canoeing, and Taekwondo did not make it to the medal podium.
Most especially in Tennis where the team could have banked on the experiences of seven-time Olympian Funke Oshoniake, Quadri Aruna, Edem Offiong, and Olajide Omotayo.
With Athletics looking like Nigeria’s hope of winning a medal, the Athletics Integrity Unit an independent body created by World Athletics that manages all integrity issues (both doping and non-doping), dropped the heavy hammer on Nigeria as they disqualified 10 Nigerian athletes from the Games.
Although the names of the affected athletes are yet to be revealed, however, Thepledge.ng can confirm that the likes of Blessing Okagbare, Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, Divine Oduduru, and Chukwuebuka Enekwechi were not affected. This gives Team Nigeria some glimpse of hope in terms of winning a medal.
There have been growing calls from some sections of the sports circuit calling for the resignation of the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare due to the disqualification of Nigerian athletes from the ongoing Olympics.
They claimed that Dare’s interference and dissolving all sports federation boards may have contributed to the poor outings of the athletes at the Games.
However, some experts in sports have blamed Nigeria’s poor showing in Tokyo as a result of the sports ministry’s inability to go back to the drawing board and organize clinics that can help to unearth new talents.
Veteran Athletics coach Brown Ebewele said that Nigeria’s Sports Ministry should deal with the consequences of the disqualification of 10 Nigerian athletes by the Athletics Integrity Unit which meant only 13 of the 23 names registered are eligible to compete at the Tokyo Olympics Athletics events which started last week Friday.
Ebewele in a chat with Thepledge.ng revealed that the whole process was midwifed by the ministry even when he was in charge of the training of the athletes before the training tour of the USA until he was asked to step down for raising certain questions.
“I am sad with this development considering the fact that it dashed the country’s hope of winning a medal in Tokyo. Since 10 out of our 23 athletes have been suspended, what is left for us.
Also speaking, Nigerian athlete, Blessing Okagbare is of the opinion that the sport system in Nigeria is flawed and that athletes are always at the receiving end of the damages.
“I have said it before and I will say it again. If you do not know the sport, are not passionate about it/us (the athletes), then you have no business there as an administrator. The sport system in Nigeria is so flawed and we athletes are always at the receiving end of the damages.
“They were busy fighting over power, exercising their pride over puma contract/ kits forgetting their major responsibility “THE ATHLETES”. It’s sad that this cycle keeps repeating its self and some people will come out to say I am arrogant for speaking my truth. It is my CAREER.”
However, in the early hours of Saturday, Okagbare was provisionally suspended for doping Saturday, hours before she was due to run in the semifinals of the women’s 100 meters at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
According to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) in a statement released on their website, Okagbare tested positive for human growth hormone in an out-of-competition test on July 19, four days before the Olympics opened, prompting a mandatory provisional suspension.
On his part, ex-Kaduna Senator, Shehu Sani offered explanation as to why 10 athletes from Nigeria were banned from the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
Apparently piqued by the development, Sani took to twitter to write, ““Nigeria went to Tokyo with a bitterly factionalized Athletics Federation of Nigeria AFN; now we have gotten the result of that division.”
“The banning of Ten of our Athletes is utterly disappointing and disgraceful. We have washed our dirty linen in #Tokyo2020.
“[Nigeria] needs to look at what other countries that are getting medals are doing and we need to do it as well. If we don’t, we will not get to where they are,” says Seye Ogunlewe, 24. “We can’t just keep relying on prayers [and] hope, we need to put the work in as well.”
Deji Aliu, an Olympic bronze medalist, says Nigeria’s poor performance at international sporting championships is due to a lack of competitions, structure and incentives to motivate athletes.
“We used to have a lot of competitions from U16 to U20, to the classics. But now, there are no more competitions. The age grade competitions are dead. Even the so called classics, we don’t even do them anymore.
“So, that alone has really affected the morale and performance of athletes. Some athletes have probably gone into other sports or stopped altogether. For us to go back to those glorious days, we need to revive those competitions that are no more.
“I started out from secondary school games. As of today, I don’t think it’s still in existence. And this is the best avenue for you to groom athletes at that stage.
“Things have been bad for years, just that it has now gotten to the peak. Administrative wise, we are zero, management of athletes, it is also zero. Sponsorship derivation is zero. Nothing is working.”
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Just In: Gunmen Storm Oyo Correctional Facility, Set Inmates Free
Suspected gunmen have attacked one of the facilities of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), in Oyo State.
It was gathered that the facility, christened Abolongo correctional facility was attacked by the gunmen Friday evening.
It was gathered that the gunmen set all the prisoners at the facility free during the attack.
Our correspondent gathered on Saturday that the attackers stormed the facility at about 10pm on Friday.
It was gathered that the attackers used grenades to gain access and set prisoners free.
Spokesman for the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) in the state, Olanrewaju Anjorin confirmed the attack to DAILY POST on Saturday.
Anjorin in a telephone conversation with DAILY POST Saturday morning, said that the senior officers of the agency were on their way to assess the level of damage.
He said, “Yes. It has been confirmed that the attack actually happened.
“And right now, the comptroller of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) and other top officers are assessing the situation.
“But, I can confirm to you that the incident actually happened”.
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I’ll Retire From Football When My Legs Are Tired, Ronaldo Declares
Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo has ruled out international retirement.
The Portugal captain, 36, became the all-time top scorer in international football last month.
Ronaldo – who lifted the Euro trophy in 2016 – is hungry for more ahead of the 2022 World Cup held in Qatar in December next year.
Quizzed by Sky Sports on international retirement, he said: “But why? I think it’s not my time yet. It’s not what people want, it’s what I want.
“It’s when I feel that I’m not capable to run, to dribble, to shoot, if the power is gone… but I still have that stuff so I want to continue because I’m still motivated.
“It’s the main word – [motivated] to do my stuff, to make people happy and my family happy and the fans and myself. I want to put the level even higher.
“You speak about Portugal but in the Champions League I have the most goals, the most wins, assists… everything.
“But I want to carry on. I like to play football. I feel good to make people happy.”
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I’m Ready For Sunday’s El Clasico Against Barca, Says Courtois
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is excited ahead of the El Clasico against Barcelona.
Real Madrid go to Barca on Sunday for the first El Clasico of the season.
Courtois said: “The Clasicos are one of the most watched games in the world. You feel when you go to play it, even before you are here. They are games that all the players watch.
“And we are happy that the fans are back in the stands. That gives a plus to a Clásico. It’s going to be a very intense game, with rivalry, clashes on the field …
“In the end it is going there to the death, to defend yours. Sometimes when heat arises in the game, there may be a clash, but always with the utmost respect, because we are professionals. But that is cool in these games, let there be a little fire.”
Asked if he’s happy Lionel Messi is no longer with Barca, Courtois added: “No, because we like to face him. It’s always cool when you can face the best. I remember a game the first year I arrived that he didn’t play and we lost 5-1. I don’t want to remember that, but that’s the way it is.
“Barça have quality, new young stars: Ansu Fati, Pedri … It’s going to be a great game because they have a lot of quality.”
193 total views, 193 views today
- Just In: Gunmen Storm Oyo Correctional Facility, Set Inmates Free
- I’ll Retire From Football When My Legs Are Tired, Ronaldo Declares
- I Still Feel Hurt Barca Sold Me Out, Suarez Fumes
- I’m Ready For Sunday’s El Clasico Against Barca, Says Courtois
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