In a few months, Nigeria Olympic committee under the leadership of Eng. Habu Ahmed Gumel will send athletes and coaches to participate in the four yearly global sporting fiesta – the Olympics. Of recent, the leadership of the NOC under the command of the civil engineer turned sports administrator have been enmeshed in leadership crisis. Therefore, little is expected to come out of Team Nigeria that is bound for the Olympics in terms of medals.
Though, the present Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare has made tremendous efforts to broker peace amongst feuding factions in the NOC, it is glaring that the sports minister has saved the tumultuous ship from sinking. Peace has gradually returned to the NOC all in a bid to salvage and redeem our pride at the fast approaching Olympics in Tokyo.
It is evident that poor preparations, in fighting, maladministration and tribal politics have been the bane of Nigeria’s poor performance in past Olympics events.
It needs be noted that preparations that will lead an athlete to the medal podium are not done in weeks or months. Top athletes through the support of their respective sporting federations in their home countries usually have a four-year consistent training period. While taking parts in sporting competitions, participating in grand prix events, indoor events and invitational tournaments, athletes that have prospects and marginal propensity to winning medals are usually monitored by their respective national coaches to ascertain their fitness levels prior to an Olympic year.
The aforementioned instances cannot be said for Nigeria sporting federation who does not empower its national coaches with the view to monitoring its international athletes. In fact, prior to every Olympic year, Nigerian athletes both in the long and short distance sprint have the knack to always return with impressive time and personal best. But one contrasting twist to these pre-Olympic performances is that our athletes usually suffer from burn-outs and cop injuries which often prevent and undermine their performances at the Olympics.
There is no doubt that since the 2004 Olympics in Greece, Nigeria contingents to the Olympics have failed to return home with any single medal to commensurate government effort who regularly appropriate huge funds for preparations and participations at the Olympics.
Apart from the 2016 Rio Olympics in which team Nigeria returned home with only a bronze medal courtesy of Under 23 Men’s Football team, all other athletes (boxing, badminton, weightlifting, wrestling etc) that were registered for the event failed woefully.
With barely six months to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, it is indeed necessary to carry out a pre-tournament assessment or evaluation of our medal hopefuls.
Below are conclusions that are made based on recent happenings in the sports ministry:
- In the short sprint events for men and women, which are one of Nigeria’s area of strengths, it seems unlikely that any of our athletes in the 100 or 200 metres will win any medals in Tokyo. Blessing Okagbere, who has passed her prime, will obviously participate in what is regarded as her last Olympics but still not likely win. Preparations for the 100m, 200m and 400m are shambolic in Nigeria and such preparations are not enough to compete with more superior international athletes from Jamaica, USA, Bahamas and Canada.
- Nigeria’s table tennis athletes, basketball, short put and badminton have not recorded any improved performances in the past year 2019 to deserve a medal at the Olympics.
- Nigeria’s male and female basketball team who impressed recently in Africa basketball tournaments may not have the pedigree to rival basketball heavyweights like Spain, USA, Greece and Italy at the Olympics, not even a bronze medal.
- On the other hand, Dr. Daniel Igali has done an impressive job in the Nigerian Sports Federation. The wrestlers under his watch and discipleship have done well in many international wrestling competitions they have participated in. Most of our wrestlers like Blessing Oborududu, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Arnas Daniel, Mercy Genesis, Ifeoma Nwoye and the rest have the potentials to win medals in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
What do you think guys? Do you believe that Team Nigeria will bring home any medals from Tokyo 2020 Olympics? Let us know in the comment section.