Nigerian sports fans know more about football than any other sport. I’m not so surprised, therefore, that we don’t pay so much attention to athletics. This is why Nigerians did not protest too much when our athletes returned from the Rio Olympics this year almost empty-handed. In fact, our single medal came from football. This is quite disconcerting; Nigeria used to be a major force in athletics. Ever heard of Mary Onyali-Omagbemi?
I’m sure you know about the 1992 Barcelona Olympics bronze medalist. If you haven’t, well, I have. I also heard that she spent lots of time and effort to prepare for the Games. How about Chioma Ajunwa, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics gold medalist? Surely you know her; she won a gold medal back in the day there’s something that links all these athletes together; they all spent long periods of time preparing for the games they went to participate in. Mary Onyali-Omagbemi said that it takes a long time and a lot of investment to be fully prepared for their competitions. Sometimes it takes years to prepare. However, our athletes now just get on the plane, get to the venue, and come last.
I’m not blaming our modern crop of athletes for their failure to win stuff; it’s totally not their fault. However, we need to blame someone for this slump. Shall we blame the Government? Yeah, the government has a hand in our athletes’ unfortunate decline in fortune. For starters, you guys know all about our Sports Minister’s commitment and dedication to his job. In fact, I’m pretty sure you know all about how so very qualified he is for his job wait, who am I kidding? I’m not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, but a certain minister knows something about how the money we “spended” was well “spended”. I think that’s a good place to start when looking for who to blame for Nigeria’s poor performance in athletics.
That’s just one problem, and the dude isn’t even the cause. He’s just the face of it as a whole. However, the cankerworm that has eaten into Nigeria’s sports system goes deeper than the naked eye can see. I think it would be a good idea to burn the whole thing to the ground. However, I still get the feeling that it won’t solve the problem. So, do we sit back and watch, or do we act? We have four years to prepare for the next Olympics. I don’t see any athletes preparing for that. Yet Solomon Dalung wants them to win all the medals. Somebody please tell me how that’s going to happen.