By Ben Efe
Former sprinter, Uche Emed olu has accused the National Sports Commission of victimisation, after he was banned from the national athletics team.
The 2000 Sydney Olympics 100m and 200m quarter-finalist who is now a full time coach, said yesterday that he was banned by the NSC, because he demanded to be paid a 2000 dollars allowance owed him from the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
“I simply requested to be paid the allowance owed me from the Beijing Olympics. I spoke to the director-general about it.
“And he told me that I was having some issues and could not be paid. The next thing I heard was that I have been banned.
“I don’t know how in the world, why I would deliberately drop a baton as being accused. Two of the team members are boys that I’m coaching, why would I want show a bad example before them?
“This is not the end of the matter, they will definitely hear from me,” said Emedolu.
The Nigerian 4x100m quartet dropped the baton at the Beijing Games much to the consternation of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria officials.
They accused the 2004 IAAF/VTB Continental Cup 100m champion of deliberately dropping the baton at the Beijing Games. They hinged their argument on the fact that Emedolu did the same thing at the 2008 African Championships in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
However, the footballer turned athlete denied the accusations. He submitted that it was purely an accident.
“What about the USA teams that dropped the baton in Beijing, Did anybody get the blamed for it? We always want to look for scapegoats in Nigeria,” Emedolu said.
The NSC during the week barred Emedolu from being invited to the national team. Two years after the said incident occurred at the Olympics.
“This whole thing smacks of victimisation. Why would the NSC just wake up one day and punish Emedolu, for what happened two years ago,” said high jump coach Johnny Igboka.
“Dropping of the relay baton is something that can happen to any team. Nigeria was not the only country that dropped their baton.
“I don’t think Emedolu deserve this kind of treatment. He is working hard at discovering athletes for the country and he is also coach to some of our aspiring national athletes.”