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Okagbare opts out of All Africa Games

Okagbare (middle).

Okagbare (middle).

Her absence won’t affect us in Congo, says AFN

THOSE hoping to see African and Commonwealth track queen, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, return to action after fumbling at the just concluded IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China, may have to wait a bit longer.

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) confirmed yesterday that Okagbare would not be part of its squad to the 11th All Africa Games, which begins tomorrow in Brazzaville, Congo.

Okagbare was Team Nigeria’s medal hope to the IAAF Championship in Beijing. She did not only fumble but painted a picture of an athlete, who does not have the interest of her nation at heart.

Apart from finishing last in the 100m final on a day millions of Nigerians had fastened their seatbelts in anticipation of a fun-filled night, Okagbare failed to show up for the 200m event four days later, despite appearing in the warm up area.

From the podium seven years ago at the same Bird’s Nest Stadium during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, her performance last month was considered a major setback by many Nigerians considering Okagbare’s status in global athletics.

Her failure at the Beijing 2015 World Championship not withstanding, some Nigerians, especially lovers of athletics, were looking forward to seeing a ‘different’ Okagbare in the All Africa Games in Congo.

Secretary General of AFN, Olumide Bamiduro, told The Guardian on phone yesterday that Okagbare would not be part of the country’s athletics team to Congo.

The first batch of Team Nigeria’s contingent to Congo left Abuja on Monday, the same day the athletics team returned from IAAF World Championship in Beijing, where Nigeria failed to win any medal.

While in Beijing, Okagbare was said to have told officials of the AFN that they should not bother to include her name for the All Africa Games in Congo.

“Yes, she told us she won’t be available for the All Africa Games in Congo,” Bamiduro said yesterday. “I don’t know her whereabout at the moment because she did not travel with us from Beijing to Nigeria. I am sure she must have returned to her base in the United



10 Comments
  • bigbang

    Take your time and rest. The main event is the Olympics in Rio. Work on the your start. You should compete also in the long jump.

    • Datti

      I agree with you. I think she would do well in the long jump rather than the sprint

  • Arabakpura

    Allow the young woman to nourish her body and start a family; she cannot be running all her life!

    • okwuchukwu

      Excellent response!!. There are some people who think some sections of Nigeria are made to slave for the country while they (professional critics) shamelessly run for political power and spoils of office.

  • Tizi

    Your choice of words like `fumble`, `finishing last`, `does not have the interest of her nation at heart…` are nothing but pathetic. It shows the mindset of a fumbling writer not matured enough to appreciate the fact that winning and losing are things that happen in sports. And that something may have gone wrong somewhere with her. Compared to running 100m, penning down a page of short-sighted article could be much more easier. At least anyone can do that.

  • Petepaschal

    This
    is a really poor write-up! Okagbare is probably Africa’s best and was the only
    African to make the 100m final in either the male or female category and yet
    you describe her performance as a fumble. Have you considered that from a
    starting list of 53 female athletes, she finished 8th? I remember hearing she
    had a hamstring injury during the warm-up of the 200m and had to pull out from
    the heats for that reason so what has she done wrong? Rather than put the blame
    on an athlete that has performed so incredibly well for Nigeria, I
    think your focus should be on AFN or NSC who, in my opinion, have not done much
    in the area of sports development in this country. They have done nothing to
    bring athletes or sports persons in general through from the grassroots into the
    continental or international sporting stage. Rather they rely on happenstance
    upon local athletes and the tapping of foreigners of Nigerian descent who have
    benefitted from sports development programmes in their countries of birth or
    citizenship, but not good enough to represent them, to represent Nigeria. For a
    country the size of Nigeria, which was once a sprint powerhouse in Africa,
    Okagbare was the only Nigerian athlete in the field for the 100m compared to 4
    from Jamaica, 3 from the US and 2 from Ivory Coast among others; why? I don’t
    think there is even a male Nigerian athlete of note today and just wonder what
    Nigeria’s performance at the All African Games is going to be like! Until we
    begin to take sports development serious from the grassroots by organising
    meets may be from junior secondary school level to identify potentials from a
    young age and attaching such potentials to coaches who will be responsible for
    their development while taking care of their education and welfare through some
    sort of sponsorship programme, we will continue in our path of limited
    successes in sports, unfortunately

    • uchenna niboro

      you go, tell them because that’s nothing but the truth.

  • Jimmy Ajim

    Okagbare deserves some rest. She can’t continue running chasing nothing ! She is human. Allow her to prepare better for Rio Olympics. By the way, 8th position in a world meet is no mean feat. Some of her critics can’t even chase a rat !

  • Mr DIGITAL from Ohio, USA

    Nigeria’s sports administration is a fraud. they should be greatful that blessing has not decided to run for another country. look at the men relay and women relay 4×100 and 4×400 we used to dominate in Africa and compete very well amongst top countries in the world is now a mountain we can not climb. with a population of over 160 million, we cannot compete in any sport to produce medals.

  • Egbu Yugo

    The report seems to blame her. She should be allowed to compete when she wants. We are more interested in the African circuit, we should set our sights higher. Kenya topped the medals table at the just concluded world championship in Beijing.

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