This Day (Lagos)

2 August 2012

Nigerian Athletes in Diaspora

At the last count, there were no less than five Nigerian athletes in Great Britain team at the on going Olympic 2012. Even at that, several others who were not selected were up in arms with UK Athletics for ignoring them.

Now, most of those who failed in their bid to represent GB are now having a rethink, giving Nigeria a second thought.

One of such athletes is JJ Jegede. The lad who felt his 8.23m was good enough to grant him a place in the GB team but was ignored is looking in the direction of doing what Tosin Oke did in 2007.

Then, Oke was overlooked in GB's team for the World Championship hosted by Japan in Osaka. He dumped them for Nigeria and since then has not looked back.

There are no less than 26 of such athletes thinking of Nigeria as alternative now.

But Nigeria's track & field team are quietly waiting, insisting that the country will not be dumping ground for those rejected abroad. Only those good enough may be considered when the time comes.

Home Cooking

If there is one thing that the typical Nigerian athlete normally complains of at competitions, it is the food.

Already, a section of the 'home grown' Team Nigerian athletes are looking elsewhere outside the Games Village to 'refuel their tanks.'

Those of them who are not used to the continental meals served at the Village have started to eat out in some of the 'joints' managed by Nigerians in London. One of athletes told THISDAY at one of such restaurants that nothing compares with our delicacies like pounded yam, semovita and eba with rich ogbono or egusi soups.

"Most of what they are giving us to eat is mainly continental. Even the rice in the African section lacks our kind of stew and tastes so much sugar," complained the athlete.

Oldest Nigerian Olympian in London

K.A.B. Olowu is the oldest Nigerian Olympian alive today. He is the last surviving member of the generation of athletes that first participated in the Olympics for Nigeria.

He was a member of the Nigerian team to the Helsinki '52 and Melbourne '56 Games.

Pa Olowu, now in 80s is here in London without the knowledge of the Nigeria Olympic Committee executives.

A former federation chief who learnt of Pa Olowu's presence quipped: "In an ideal setting, this is the kind of man that we should be celebrating not those who have not contributed anything to our commonwealth but are benefitting from the system. How can out NOC say they do not know that Pa Olowu is here in London?"

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