Africa

Which Way Nigeria (4) – IAAF ends

AmakaThe twelfth IAAF for 2009 which began on 15th August ended on 23rd August with United States, Jamaica and Kenya in the first, second, and third positions respectively.

It featured several track and field events participated by over 150 countries including Nigeria. For full medal table details of all participating countries please visit http://www.berlin2009.org/349-1-medaillenspiegel.html.

It was an interesting event with loads of action in both track and field events. On the tracks it was more of a war between America and Jamaica, and occasionally the United Kingdom. Interesting athletes with amazing performance to cheer the crowd  won medals. On the tracks were the likes of Usain Bolt (Jamaica) who was an incredible entertainer and athlete to watch, Asafa Powell (Jamaica), Dwight Chambers (United Kingdom), Christine Ohuruogu (United Kingdom), Marilyn Okoro (United Kingdom), Sanya Richards (USA), Tyson Gay (USA), Shawn Crawford (USA) to mention a few. On the fields was Philips Idowu (United Kingdom) who won the triple men jump.

While some countries celebrated their medals, the giants of Africa had no single medal to celebrate. We were absolute rubbish in this competition. ‘Some days are like that’, is not good enough a reason on our terrible performance. Looking at the medal table the position of Nigeria at the end of the competition is 35th, way below my expectation. Of course I expected the giants of Africa to make our presence felt in this competition. My joy was incomplete while the competition lasted and there was absolutely nothing to cheer me up due to our very poor performance. Worse still it hurt more seeing Nigerians win the so much desired medals for other countries with fantastic performance. Why, is a question I may never get a satisfactory response.

These prompt me to ask once more, Which way Nigeria? What is happening to ‘everything’ about us? What has suddenly clamped the wings of the eagle from soaring high? What logical explanation could be given for this terrible performance? Just like every other competition we are nowhere near a win. Personally I feel terrible about this and honestly I don’t know why things keep getting worse. I do not even want to go into the disgraceful disqualification of one of our athletes over doping, http://www.newser.com/article/d9a7cao81/nigerian-hurdler-amaka-ogoegbunam-caught-doping-2nd-failed-drug-test-at-worlds.html. This is very embarrassing. Please someone should tell me and other curious Nigerians why we have suddenly gone from grace to grass.

Memories of such athletes like Mary Onyeali, Chioma Ajunwa, Gloria Alozie, Uchenna Emedolu, Francis Obikwelu, Obinna Metu to mention a few, who won medals for Nigeria then still ring a bell. These great athletes kept the green flag flying and their names will always be remembered in Nigerian athletic competitions. Since sports generally is one unifying factor in the nation, it becomes imperative that we do not let this slip out of our hands. We have almost lost everything we love dearly about our fatherland, or should I say motherland? Whatever, the fact is that the rate we are loosing everything we stand for, cherish and hold dearly, is alarming. At the moment it seems we have gradually become complacent with this anomaly. Sleeping dogs have been left to lie in the case of Nigeria and the state of affairs. Let to me alone it calls for state of emergency in order to bring back our lost glory. Infact it is quite embarrassing.

Which way Nigeria? Can this deplorable situation of poor performance in sports also be attributed to politics? That has been a Nigerian factor; everything that goes wrong is definitely due to politics, which I am not disputing. Or is it once again the issue of fitting square pegs into round holes? Please sports administrators in Nigeria, a lot of us are weary of this undesirable and embarrassing condition in an activity everyone enjoys. This calls for urgent attention in the sporting industry. I do not think the athletes were denied any entitlement to motivate and enhance their performance; I am yet to read any complaints. If I am right in this then sports administration should be brought under heavy scrutiny. I just wonder how convenient this will be for the sports minister and the sports governing body in Nigeria. Which way are we heading to? What excuse can be given? Mind you, this is not a question of ‘you win some and loose some’ because we have not won any major event but have constantly been on the receiving end of ridicule due to our inability to make any meaningful appearance. I am highly vexed, as much as many sports-loving Nigerians are. Unless drastic measures are put in place to address the situation, then we can as well kiss goodbye to sports entertainment. Who want that? Nobody.

We are supposed to be growing with years of experience but it seems the saying that ‘a fool at forty is a fool forever’ is catching or has caught up with us. God forbid! Tufiakwa! This is no example at all for other nations looking up to us; that is if there are still any looking up to us. More or less we are the ones looking up to nations that once depended on us, even though we will not acknowledge it. We can only lie to others but never to ourselves. Which way Nigeria are we heading to?

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