As Nigerians come to terms with the no medal placement of Team Nigeria at the London 2012 Olympics, Athletics Federation of Nigeria, has given thumbs up for its Track and Field athletes who surpassed their personal bests at the Olympics.
President of AFN, Chief Solomon Ogba who reviewed events of the London Olympics said that they were happy with the performance of Nigerian athletes despite not winning a medal.
"We are happy with the performance of our athletes. And as for us, we met the targets we set before the Olympics. It was amazing that we qualified in 10 semi-finals and five finals of the Olympics. Not only that. For the first time in our participation in the Olympics, we have an athlete run 10.93secs, 10.92 and 11.01 secs in the Women 100 metres. We have never attained that feat in the Olympics. We also improved on the High Jump At the Beijing Olympics, Doreen Amata did 1.89 but surpassed that in London, jumping 1.90
These are statics that we did well and if you recall, I promised that we would qualify to semi finals and that from there anything can happen. Therefore, there is no reason absolutely to blame the athletes. They did well but we as a Nation did not provide all that we needed to provide for the athletes. It goes beyond the $3,000 that we gave".
Ogba who is also the second Vice President of Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, also absolved the National Sports Commission from blame. "NSC did not get financial support from Government early because of the fact that budget was not approved early. The NSC got money in May and serious countries by that time had concluded preparations for the Olympics. As a country, we need to fund sports better to get the desired results that all Nigerians yearn for.
"While we are still crying over our poor outing in London, the Great Britain has announced a budget of 500 million pounds for the Olympics in Rio de Janerio in 2016. That is a budget of N131 billion compared to about N2.3 billion for Nigeria. Sports has gone scientific and we need proper funding to move up to the level that is expected of us", Ogba who as Sports Commissioner in Delta State made the state the number one in sports said.
He pleaded with Nigerians to protect Nigerian athletes by commending them instead of condemning them. "Comparatively, they did well", he emphasized.