Nigerian football and basketball teams are excelling pretty well in almost every league tournament we’ve seen so far.
However, is that all about Sports in Nigeria? Sprint, jumps and other sports athletes have since been switching sides for years now, and we’ve seen a great decline in the performances of faithful Nigerian athletes in these sports.
The break-off has been largely pinned on the poor welfare and facilities for athletes, and this is with good reason.
Following their meagre performance at the London 2017 IAAF Championships, Nigerian athletes have spoken up in their defence. One of such is Onome Nathaniel.
According to Nigerian Today, Onome Nathaniel, who made her debut appearance for Nigeria at the IAAF Championships in London remarked that the reason Nigeria found it hard to win medals was that the coaches and sports officials are not often times apprehensive of athlete’s welfare.
Nathaniel who ran a personal best of 55.30 seconds in the 400m hurdles and helped the Nigerian 4x400m relay team spot in the final also said that Nigerian athletes have been plagued with sore conditions when they represented the country at International event.
She was cited stating; “We could have done better if conditions in the Nigerian camp were okay. For instance, my coach was not in London during the competition; for me it was a psychological blow, this is because while warming up for my race with the hurdles, there was nobody to tell me what I was doing wrong; I had to call him back in Nigeria on phone and he was telling me what to do, meanwhile other athletes were there with their coaches masseurs and doctors while Nigerian athletes had no one. Why they decided to leave coaches who could have helped us behind remains a mystery to me.”
She also said, “If we have to move our sport forward we must shirk personal interests and put the nation first…”
The poor state of facilities in the country has made analysts opine that it would be unattainable for Nigeria to host the 2025 IAAG Championships the country is being considered for along side six others.
Up and coming athletes would also need to be assured of proper treatment and facilities that will help improve their abilities to be at their best performance for the Nation if we expect them to stay with their teams.
A lot more has to be done to ensure the nation’s representatives are well catered for and facilities at optimum kilter if we want to remain on top at every tournament and experience more victories.