Unarguably, one of Nigeria’s finest athletes, Gloria Kemasuode, needs urgent help to enable her to overcome psychological trauma which has made her a pitiable figure in recent times.
The Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medallist was recently spotted roaming the streets of Yenagoa, talking to herself in haggard dress while soliciting handouts.
Gloria was last seen carrying bags containing mostly diets and scavenging on the streets of Yenagoa, a development that shocked her colleagues at the Bayelsa State Sports Council where she is a staff.
According to her colleagues who spoke with Tribunesport in Yenagoa, the former African champion is believed to have been suffering from depression as a result of broken relationship.
It was gathered that depression set in for Gloria after her fiance whom she had concluded marriage arrangements with dumped her in Australia and reportedly bolted with all her life’s savings.
Sportingtribune investigation revealed that Gloria, who hails from Bomadi community in Delta State, is a staff of the Bayelsa State Sports Council and lived all by herself in a rented apartment somewhere in Ugheli, Delta State before her present predicament.
When Sportingtribune spoke with the Director of Sports, Bayelsa State Sports Council, Mr Patimidi Tukuru, in Yenagoa, he said when he accosted Gloria sometime last year to ascertain what the problem was, the former athlete was fine.
“When I first saw her, I didn’t know she was suffering from depression. But when I later noticed that she was acting strange, talking out of point and becoming hostile to people, I approached her and asked her if she was okay.
“She said ‘I am fine. It is just that since my fiance who promised to marry me disappointed me, I sometime get bothered when I remember how it happened’. In fact, Gloria even promised me that she would be fine soon.
“Not too long she disappeared and later resurfaced. This time, it became clear to me that she is battling with psychological trauma. She always carries bags around while her make up gives serious concern, she looked like a clown when I last saw her.
“We have made several efforts to lure her to hospital for medical attention but, she always put up strong resistance. But with the way things are, we have resolved that we will do everything humanly possible to force her to go to hospital this time round because she needs medical attention.
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“We don’t know where she currently lives, she comes to the sports council once in a while. So, I have left a standing order that she be apprehended whenever she is spotted anywhere in Yenagoa so that we can take her to hospital. We do not have any choice but to save her, she is still a staff of the Bayelsa State Sports Council and her condition brings embarrassment to us,” Tukuru told Sportingtribune.
Also, a friend of Gloria, also an athlete, who spoke on condition of anonymity said that her friend has been living a pathetic life for about two years now and many sportsmen and women knew about this worrisome development.
“Why are people pretending as if they don’t know that Gloria’s condition of living is unpalatable of late. Even the sports authorities at the national level know about her condition.
“It is very unfortunate, some members of a popular sports association in Benin, Edo State even called recently to say that we should come and carry our athlete, that she was dancing naked in the stadium when they were having a competition,” she said.
For Mr Bomo Kigigha, head coach of Bayelsa State chess association, Gloria, actually needs urgent medical help.
“I saw Gloria briefly last week but, I didn’t approach her for a conversation. At times, she speaks off key, and if she noticed that you are trying to observe her, she would become hostile to you.
“She is going through a lot right now and she needs urgent medical help to get her life back and more so, retain her job in the sports council.
“I have heard lots of stories about what led to her present living condition but for me, only the doctors can tell us the exact situation,” Kigigha told Tribunesport.
Loveday Herbert, a renowned sports journalist, who also spoke with Tribunesport lamented Gloria’s predicament.
“I saw her sometime last year during the dry season walk along a street in Yenagoa. Initially, I thought she was on a training session, but when I moved closer, her mode of dressing revealed something was wrong. I also tried to talk to her but she snubbed me.
“Her condition at present is unfortunate. I feel her condition is a psychological but I think her condition is not out of hand yet. If people can come together as soon as possible to assist her, I am sure that she would get over this worrisome condition. She has contributed to sports in the country in no small measure and therefore deserves help,” Herbert said.