Okagbare charges Glo, others to celebrate athletes like footballers
AFRICAN queen of the track, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, has suggested to telecommunication giant, Globacom and other corporate bodies in Africa to put in place an event that would showcase the achievement of top athletes, as it is done for footballers.
Okagbare captained Team Nigeria to Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and became the biggest attention of athletics followers around the World, after capturing both the 100m and 200m gold medals.
Her performance in the 100 m women’s event has been described as one of the best in the history of the Commonwealth Games, as she ran 10.85 seconds to win the event and in the process, broke the 100m records. She also won gold in the 200m race, thereby becoming the first Nigerian to win double gold medals in the Commonwealth Games. She was the fourth woman in Commonwealth Games history to record such achievement.
Okagbare also led Team Nigeria to another glorious moment in Morocco few weeks later, where the country topped the medals table at the 19th African Senior Athletic Championships. She has just been named Sports Woman of the Year by a tabloid newspaper in Lagos.
Speaking with The Guardian in Lagos at the weekend before returning to her base in the United States, Okagbare said that the time has come for companies doing business in Africa to look the direction of athletes the way footballers are celebrated annually in the Glo-CAF Award.
“It will be nice if Globacom or other companies like MTN, Airtel and Etisalat can come up with a yearly award ceremony to celebrate those who make remarkable achievement in athletics,” she told The Guardian. “Everything should not be football alone because the game of athletics has a large follower as well. I am very sure such a company will have good value for any amount of money it put into such programme because we (athletes) are there all the time. It will go a long way in bringing more competitions into the game,” Okagbare-Ighoteguonor said.