This Day (Lagos)

24 October 2012

Nigeria: 36 Medals At Rio 2016 Olympics - Mission Impossible for Team Nigeria, Says Ositelu

Renowned Sports Analyst, Ayo Ositelu, has described President Goodluck Jonathan's request for 36 medals from Team Nigeria at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games as not feasible.

Ositelu told NAN Tuesday in Lagos he was yet to see any evidence of change or improvement since the country's woeful performance at the 2012 London Olympics Games.

President Jonathan had requested Team Nigeria's leadership to strive to win the medals at the Presidential Sports Retreat with the theme: "Harnessing the Potential of Nigeria's Sports Sector: from Playground to Podium" in Abuja on Monday.

"I tell you this coming from the president; I cannot say the president is dreaming, as a patriotic Nigerian.

"But it is totally impossible, because of the manner in which we organise sports in this country, there is nothing like sports development, I don't see any evidence of sports development.

"Either at the federal or state level, tournaments and competition are a different ball game from development of sports, you develop children from ages five and above," observed the respected former editor of Sunday Punch.

He stressed that for more genuine grassroots developmental programmes, he opposed the emphasis on exposure, which he said would be in vain if genuine talents were not developed.

Ositelu described the president's speech as being a politically motivated speech.

"Without developing people at the grassroots at a very young age I don't see any evidence anywhere, coaches are not dedicated to discovering talents because they are not given the needed logistics.

"Most times you hear federations talk about exposure, for who if I may ask where are the talents; you have to develop talents to expose them.

He told NAN that if nothing drastic was done to halt the decline in the country's grassroots sports development; it would be a miracle to win any medal at the Olympics.

"At the rate we are going if we actually win three medals, I will thoroughly commend our sports administrators.

"I don't see it happening because I haven't seen any change since our shameful performance in London," concluded Ositelu.

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