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Berlin standards scare AFN

By Onochie Anibeze,in Berlin
Ibrahim Gusau is worried.The high standards of athletes here are scaring to the Nigerian officials. And daily, it dawns on them how low Nigeria has descended in track and field where they once flexed muscles with some of the best in the world.

Gusau, the first vice president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, does not smile here. The enormous challenges ahead of their federation have kept him thinking.

“I don’t know where we are. I’m worried, really worried,” he said to this reporter 24 hours after Usain Bolt ran 9.58 to set a record athletes may have to fly to break.

Ibrahim celebrated Bolt’s feat but that kept him thinking on how Nigeria can get close to those doing well here.
“I know that we have a lot to do but what is going on here shows we just have to start rebuilding, to start all over again.  We have a plan but sincerely speaking, this thing involves money. We need to embark on serious revenue drive and the government has to play their own role too. You can see that the countries doing well all have fantastic sports programmes in their school system.

It is not so in Nigeria. We cannot do this without the school system. We need to start developing young athletes and the schools should provide the platform. The standards of athletes here are not what they attain in a couple of months but years. But I think one is determined now more than ever before.

It is important that the states show interest and take sports seriously and not what they play politics with. We will now go home and think of how to implement the plans we have for the zones and how to start junior competitions from the zones to the national level. We have our hands full, that I have known from Berlin here. And we will work. But I know the job is tasking but we all have to do it together. It is not what the federation can do alone. That I have also known from here.”


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