Former sprinter and coach, Gabriel Okon has blamed Government for the under performance of Nigeria’s Athletes at the recently concluded IAAF World Championships in London.
Okon, the head of technical matters in Nigeria’s participation for the blue riband event, said the team was undone by a paucity of runners which necessitated his decision to run Abike Egbeniyi who arrived London a night before in the 4x400m relay where Nigeria narrowly missed out on a medal.
“First of all in order to win medals the government must invest in the athletes and coaches. The federation must have a sound technical team and a viable secretariat. Medals are never won through uninformed ‘experts’ as we are doing right now,” Okon said.
According to Vanguard, Abike had to run since Emerald Egwim and Margaret Bamgbose needed medical help after their races.
“Emerald Egwim was so sick the night before; we had to start looking for a replacement in which we didn’t find. She complained of a stomach upset. She barely warmed up for the 4x4m qualifying race….so we couldn’t have used her when there was a fresh leg in the team.”
Meanwhile, former sprinter Endurance Ojokolo disagrees with the coach over the selection of athletes for the race.
“Egwim ran so well in the semi-final. What kind of sickness could have stopped her. We are all athletes and we know these things, she could have been patched up to run. A half fit Egwim would be better than Abike who was home not training after Ozoro trials, she had no clue she will be going to the world championships.”
Critics have called for an overhaul of the country’s athletics federation (AFN) after yet another poor showing