Daegu, South Korea has not been a good fishing ground for Nigerian athletes contesting
for honours at the World Championships.
Eight days of competition has not yielded any medal for the 15-man strong team.
Blessing Okagbare’s fifth placing in the women’s 100m final and Dorren Amata’s
appearance in the women high jump final are the highlights of Nigeria’s participation
However, as the curtain closes on the championships tomorrow, Athletics Federation
of Nigeria officials are hoping to rake in at least a medal from the 4x100m relay.
They have a strong believe that the women’s quartet boosted by the arrival of Gloria
Asumnu would tilt the scales in their favour. On paper the quartet of Okagbare,
Asumnu, Damola Osayomi and Endurance Abinuwa look like a team that can
challenge for a medal, but it remains to be seen how these girls could muster courage
in the face of the seeming run of poor results and wranglings in the camp.
As for the men’s quartet, it would be a miracle if they make it to the final of the
4x100m. Nigeria’s men sprinters did not make the semi-final of the 100m. This did
not come as a surprise since there was no Nigerian sprinter in the club of sub 10
seconds runners that graced the finals.
At the last Championships in Berlin, Germany, Nigeria did not win any medal.
Rather the country was clothed with embarrassment of its athletes testing positive to
“It is a pity what we are seeing in Daegu. The Nigerian team has just painted a
picture of how things would be at the London 2012 Olympics.
“But what can we do, it is the sad situation we have found our athletics. And
unless we begin to do the right thing, this is how we are going to be groping in the
dark,”said athletics coach, Tobias Igwe.
Other concerned athletics enthusiasts urged the AFN to stop paying lip service to the
development of the sport.
“Those in the AFN are clueless on how to revive the sport. They think the answer
lies in recruiting Nigerian-born athletes in the USA. But the question is, where is
the programme that produces the likes of Mary Onyali, Falilat Ogunkoya, Innocent
Egbunike, Yusuf Alli, Davidson Ezinwa, Olapade Adeniken and others? These
athletes were discovered right here,”said a former athlete.