Athens Olympic Games bronze medalist, Godday James, yesterday admitted that although the country had declined in athletics, he is optimistic that the situation can be rectified in future Games.
According to the 28-year-old quartermiler, if the country worked hard, this can be corrected at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. James was among the country's 4x400 relay quartet to the 2004 Athens Games.
The athlete, a serving officer with the Civil Defence Corps, Kaduna Command, spoke against the backdrop of the recent Presidential Retreat on Sports in Abuja.
He said in a telephone interview that in spite of the country's failure to win medals at the London 2012 Olympics, he believed that the country could get it right at the Rio Games.
"The London Olympics wasn't a good competing ground for the country. It is not the kind of Games we like to look back to, but I believe we can get it right in 2016.
"I am optimistic that we can re-emerge as a force to reckon with before the next Games. If we really want to achieve, we must work toward it. "I see us as a nation that looks back at our failures and try to effect corrections. I am confident we can do just that," he said.
James said he was excited that stakeholders responded positively after the poor showing in London, stressing that it could only get better with everybody's commitment.
He described the recent Presidential retreat as a step in the right direction, saying that President Goodluck Jonathan responded well. "The responses from stakeholders are indications that they have the interest of our sports at heart. "The presidential retreat is a good one. It is an initiative that I am hopeful will move our sports forward," James added. (NAN)