By Ben Efe
Just when Nigerian athletics enthusiasts have gotten over the loss of world class 400m hurdler, Kemi Adekoya to Bahrain, it has emerged that the Arab nation have again snatched two promising Nigerian juniors.
Ebere Agbapuluonwu and Nwamaka Onyeocha are the latest addition to the long list of Nigerian athletes and coaches that have been lured by oil rich Arab nations. Reports have it that Ebere who was the 400m champion at the 2013 School Sports in Port Harcourt, Rivers State is making waves and the she has caught the eye of the king of Bahrain.
Officials, including Athletics Federation of Nigeria president, Solomon Ogba, Bruce Ijirigho, Seigha Porbeni, and even National Sports Commission director of youth development, Alhassan Yakmut were thrilled by the prowess of Ebere at the Port Harcout meet, where she effortlessly ran 52.3, beating Cross River golden girl, Edidiong Offinime Odiong with some metres to spare . Dr Ijirigho had wanted to draft the Anambra-born Ebere to the Cross River Grassroots sports initiative in Calabar, but that did not materialise. Ebere was then ferried to Bahrain by Nigerian-born coach John Obeya.
“It is really sad how we are losing our best athletes to other countries. This was a promising junior who with minimal training can produce good performances. She is a natural born athlete,” said Anambra athletics chief coach, Johnny Igboka.
“Ebere from my owning reckoning is a world champion in the making. At the school sports meet in Port Harcout remember how she beat the girl from Cross River who had been well trained. It was the first time Ebere was running in a national competition and she had only three days training towards that meet.
“But what can we do? I am sure that she will achieve her goals in Bahrain she has huge potentials. She was home during the Christmas period and her parent had no regrets that they allowed their daughter to go to another country,” added coach Igboka.
The two athletes were from his sports academy in Nimo, Anambra State. He said that there other athletes who are doing well and was glad that the Anambra State commissioner of sports, Mr. Tony Nnacheta was interested in the development of athletes in the State.