By Ben Efe
It is hopeless expecting Nigerian male sprinters to perform any wonder at the London 2012 Olympics.
This was the submission of top track and field coaches after two days of the All Nigeria/ Cross River Athletics Championships revealed that Nigerian men in the long and short sprints have been left centuries behind by the rest of the world.
Though Athletics Federation of Nigeria president, Solomon Ogba foresees an improvement between now and July when the Olympics start, performances recorded by the men 100m and 400m does not suggest Nigeria could be guaranteed a medal most especially in the relays where they have always scratched up something in the past.
“Our male sprinters are turning to be a disappointment. We can’t have one of them doing any sub 10 seconds and 45 in the 100 and 400m,” sighed former Nigerian international Bruce Ijirigho.
He pointed out that the Nigerian men have in successive seasons failed to improve on their performances, while the women are returning with good performances.
“I don’t know what could be responsible. It is practically impossible for them to make any impact between now and the Olympics.”
Also speaking was coach Tobias Igwe. He argued that the male sprinters have not been training the way they should.
“ It is down to training and most of our athletes do not want to work hard. There is so much we can still get from 400m runners like Saul Weigopua and Goddy James, but because they want the easy way out it is difficult for them to improve.
“With the way they are running I don’t see them qualifying for the Olympics.”
The AFN boss stated that he was not expecting much from the men. “It will be useless hoping on our men to beat in the final of the Olympics.
“But we are pushing them hard to that they will reach the semi-finals of their events. If that is achieved we can boast that we have done something,” said Evangelist Ogba.
He added that he was hopeful that the men will hit the qualifying times for the relay at next week’s African Championships in Port Novo, Benin Republic.
Don’t rule us out yet, Emelieze
Nigerian male 4×100 and 4x400m relay teams have only one chance to earn their ticket for the London 2012 Olympics and that will be at the African Championships next week in Benin Republic.
Sprinter, Peter Emelieze said during the week that the quartet should not be written off just yet because they have all it takes to launch themselves into the world top 16 list of qualifiers.
“We still have the chance to make the Olympics. We know that the African Championships may be our last opportunity so will try to motivate ourselves to qualify.
“At the Warri Relays we were close to making a 38 seconds run, this gives me confidence that we can achieve a good result before the Olympics.