SENSATIONAL Blessing Okagbare, has blamed the disqualification of 10 Team Nigeria athletes from participating at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics to bad sports administration in the country.
Okagbare, who is among the 12 athletes cleared to compete, made the submission while reacting to the decision of the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent body created by World Athletics which barred 10 Nigerian athletes from the Games.
According to AIU, the affected “athletes from the final entries for the Tokyo Olympic Games are not eligible to compete because the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules were not met by ‘Category A’ Federations.”
The affected athletes from Nigeria are Knowledge Omovoh, Ruth Usoro, Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Glory Patrick, Yinka Ajayi, Tima Godbless, Chidi Okezie, Chioma Onyekwere and Annette Echikunwoke.
“I have said it before and I will say it again. If you do not know the sport, not passionate about it/us (the athletes), then you have no business there as an administrator. The sport system in Nigeria is so flaw [ed] and we athletes, are always at the receiving end of the damages.
“They [administrators] were busy fighting over power, exercising their pride over Puma contract/ kits forgetting their major responsibility “THE ATHLETES”. It’s sad that this cycle keeps repeating itself and some people will come out to say I am arrogant for speaking my [sic] truth. It is my career,” Okagbare, who won the long jump bronze medal at Beijing 2008 Olympics said through the social media.
Meanwhile, Nigerians while reacting to the Team Nigeria saga through the social media, lauded Okagbare for helping Nigerian sports to develop through her constructive criticism.
Esiri Asagba writes: “I am angry right now! When I heard the news my mood changed! Our sport administrators are self centered. There should be consequences for their inadequacies! Blessing, thank you for still representing Nigeria despite our bad administrators!”
Emmanuel Orijinal writes: “It only takes passion and a whole lot of patience to excel as an athlete in Nigeria taking into consideration the many ills and flaws of the Nigerian sports system characterised by bad administration.
God bless you [Okagbare] and every other Nigerian who has, and is still working passionately and tirelessly to get to the top of their careers and put Nigeria on the global sporting map.”
Okerhe Ogheneruemu writes: “This is quite shameful, of the 20 [athletes] worldwide that were disqualified, 10 or 50 per cent of them are from Nigeria and it also depleted our representatives to 13 from 23. This obviously will translate to a huge drop in our medals expectations and with so much resources gone to waste. Imagine a major medal come in today, these same bunch of incompetent fellows will force their way to the front row to claim accolades and whatever gains they can get. Meanwhile, nobody will be held accountable for this major failure in the preparation stages, as those set of incompetent officials will never be sanctioned as is always with our system. That is if they ever realise the failure in carrying out their duties as employees of government.”