Sports minster, Bolaji Abdulahi has refused to make any commitments to athletes’ demand for reward in recognition of their achievements in international events.
Following the sumptuous reception accorded the Paralympics team at the last London 2012 Paralympics and then recently the Super Eagles for their win at the 2013 Africa Nations Cup in South Africa, top Nigerian athletes had called on President Goodluck Jonathan, to give them a similar treat.
But that is not likely going to happen as the sports minister was tongue tied when his comments were sort with regards to the issue at hand. After Nigeria won the 2012 African Championships for the first time in ten years in Porto Novo, Benin Republic, Mallam Abdulahi had promised to host the athletes to a presidential reception, but it seems that promise is gone with the wind.
It was gathered that Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, president, Solomon Ogba discussed the matter with Abdulahi during the week, but there was no cheering news for the athletes.
“We won the championships for the first time in years. Nigeria won it in 1998 during the time of Falilat Ogunkoya, Mary Onyali and others. Between then and now there was a lull. And for the fact that we won, it means there is an improvement and our athletes’ achievements should be recognised,” said the AFN boss in Lagos.
Meanwhile AFN officials have dismissed insinuations in certain quarters that Nigeria was stripped of two gold medals at the Africa Championships following the dope failure by Vivian Chukwuemeka and Lauretta Ozoh.
“This is not true. First of all, the athletes did not fail any dope test at the championships. And the CAA has not told us anything with regards to that,” said Omatseye Nesiama, technical director of the AFN.