AFN boss laments two lost gold medals, as Okagbare settles for 4x100m relay
The President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba, is not happy with the country’s inability to win gold medals in areas he considers its ‘stronghold’ at the on-going 11th African Games holding in Brazzaville, Congo.
Team Nigeria lost two ‘vital’ gold medals in the women long jump and hurdle events yesterday, just as the country also lost gold in both male and female 100m events.
Ogba said: “Before we came to Congo, we knew the areas we expected to win medals. For instance, we lost two gold medals in the area we thought we could win gold, but got silver medal.
“Coming here, we were sure by ranking and records that we would win gold medals in the high jump and 110m hurdle. In the women high jump, for instance, Doreen Amata, is a 1.94m jumper, but here, she couldn’t jump 1.90m, so what do we do?”
Ogba said the problem with Nigerian sports is not only limited to the athletics sector alone, but also a systemic one. “The truth is that everything about Nigeria has gone down. Can you compare our education with that of South Africa and Kenya? There are many Nigerians who came here now and they are seeking medical attention here in Congo. Can you believe that? Everything about our country has gone down and that is the truth. It is even in sports that you can still find people who are struggling to be among the best in Africa and the world,” he stated.
While Nigerian athletes were battling for silver medals yesterday, their fellow West Africans, Cote d’Ivoire, continued to demonstrate their tenacity in the sprints.
The Ivoirians captured double gold in the 100m, courtesy of Marie Josee Ta Lou in the women’s event, and Ben Youssef Meïté in the men’s race. Meïté stormed to his first African Games title with a National Record (NR) of 10.04s, beating Nigeria’s Oghe-Oghene Egwero to silver.
Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, who is in Congo did not take part in the sprint event. She will compete in the 4x100m relay.
As at yesterday afternoon, Nigeria was placed fourth on the medals table with 63 medals.
The medals are 17 gold, 25 silver and 21 bronze medals.
Nigeria could climb up on the table if it won the projected 11 gold medals in para-powerlifting events.