BY JACOB AJOM
African record holder in the womens 400 metres event Chief Falilat Ogunkoya has questioned the federal government’s commit-ment to the development of sports in the country.
Using the poor funding of athletes’ preparation for the forthcoming Common-wealth Games as a case in point, Ogunkoya said, “Nigerian sports administrators concen-trate on one sport,” ostensibly, referring to football. “Sports such as athletics, boxing, shooting, wrestling, among others are not given serious consideration by policy makers.”
The former quarter miler who is a member of the Nigerian Sports Award panel spoke with Sports Vanguard in Lagos during the week asked, “What has become of the recommendations of the Presidential Retreat organised after the country’s poor showing at the 2012 Olympics? Thrown to the winds?”
Ogunkoya said sports have done too much for the country to be allowed to suffer neglect from government. “When you go outside this country, the only time you hear Nigeria’s anthem is during international sports competitions. Some of us were so proud to wear the green-white-green colours of Nigeria.
They(government) should appreciate what we (sportsmen and women) do for this country. Why are they saying there is no money for Team Nigeria for the Commonwealth Games? There is supposed to be a sports lottery, what is going on?”
She charged government to ensure the various sports federations are given adequate money to prepare their athletes for the games coming up in Glasgow, Scotland in July.
Ogunkoya was, however, hopeful that the World Relays in the Bahamas would serve as a suitable avenue to keep the Nigeria relay team is in competitive mood. “Let them go and I hope they will do well. The important thing is that the Relays will keep them in top shape ahead of the Commonwealth Games,” she reasoned.