Rio Olympics -Team Nigeria disaster waiting to happen

Rio Olympics: Team Nigeria, disaster waiting to happen?

The Olympics started in far-away Rio in Brazil. Many countries have adequately prepared their athletes and are eager to see the games begin.

The games kicks off on August 5. While so many countries have completed the preparations of their athletes because they began four years ago; immediately after the London 2012, Nigeria, the most populous black country and “giant of Africa” failed to understand why she is sending her athletes to the games.

This confusion is borne out of the country’s legacy of “fire brigade approach” to virtually everything she undertakes.

One would have expected that as a country which performed woefully at the London 2012 Olympics, Nigeria should have been one of the countries that are by now very much prepared for the edition in Rio but the reverse is the case.

At the London 2012, Nigeria, the self acclaimed or sometime ago giant of Africa did not have a podium finish while some African countries Nigerians believe to be minor and of lower status had their national flags and anthem paraded and sang.

Nigerian Athlete at the RIo Olympics
The failure of the country to have a podium finish did not spur her to take a decision to prepare her athletes adequately for Rio 2016 games in order to take the world by storm and recover the fame of being touted the giant of Africa and one of the world’s super powers in sports.

Nigeria rather went to sleep after the London disaster. The only remarkable step the country took was organising a Presidential Sports Summit immediately after the games.

But the big question is; what benefit was derived from the summit?

With the seriousness attached to the summit held at the Presidential banquet hall in Aso Villa with former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan leading his Cabinet members; the national assembly members, states governors, captains of industries from within and without the shores of Nigeria in attendance the country should have at least learnt how to begin early preparations of her athletes to major competitions like the Olympic Games.

However, the sing song of paucity of funds which delays and in most cases denies athletes their right to adequate preparations so that they attend the games as competitors and not participants still lingers.

Some suspected reasons behind the country’s fire brigade approach to important issues like preparations for the Olympics are that those in government (ministers, Directors General ), even those of them in the presidency and National Assembly seize that opportunity to amass wealth.

I have tried as a journalist to find a country that waits till about a month to a major competition before the funds meant for both preparations and participation are lumped together and released after athletes had cried to high heavens for help during preparations without any concern from the authorities and I have not been able to see one country that shares this identity with Nigeria.

All I have heard and read is how much a country spent in preparing an athlete and how much such country budgeted and released in good time for her contingent to compete in the games

This is the basis of my worry. From onset Nigeria in every four years prepare adequately to participate in the Olympics not to compete and that is why most of the medals won previously were by sheer luck.

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