Vanguard (Lagos)

31 August 2014

Nigeria: Our Athletes Have Done Well - Nesiama

Athletics Federation of Nigeria technical director, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama in reviewing the performances of Nigerian athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, the African Championships in Marrakesh, Morocco and the World Junior Championships in Eugene Oregon, USA declared that the country's runners did well in face of the prevailing circumstances.

At the Commonwealth Games, Blessing Okagbare, Ese Brume, the women 4x400m relay quartet were gold medal winners, while in Morocco, Nigeria surrendered its number one position to South Africa. He stated that the technical committee intends to review the performances of all the athletes with a view of taking appropriate measures to improve on their showings.

"We intend to review the performances of each of the athletes. And these include the foreign and home-based and thereafter decide on the next course of action and future strategy to adopt.

"We are expected to work together as a team which is what we are determined to encourage. It is by so doing that we can assure performance as desired. "Everyone should therefore give these athletes sometime and make them comfortable to perform. They are not super humans; every athlete requires some form of support and encouragement to perform. So many criticisms will not help them and the situation.

Commenting on the insinuations in some quarters that most of the American athletes recruited by the AFN, was done with the sole purpose of making them run for Delta State, Commodore Nesiama said:

"I don't see how Chief Solomon Ogba would have recruited these athletes for Delta State for the Festival. These new athletes were not reflected under any states during the trials.

"Besides, it is not the AFN's responsibility to recruit athletes for states." He argued however, that the opening of theNational Sports Festival will speed up development of talents.

"It is my personal opinion that the opening of the festival would assist the development of the sport as the area of talent identification and support of performing athletes would now be a healthy collaboration between the AFN and the states. Thus reasonable pressure could be taken off the AFN in this area. Every state is therefore free and encouraged to identify and develop athletes as deemed necessary. We in AFN will continue to remain as objective as required to move the sport forward."

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