By Jacob Ajom
One Nigerian who was not surprised by the country’s barren outing at the just-concluded London 2017 IAAF World Championship is Chief Falilat Ogunkoya.
The Olympian who was a middle distance specialist said “I was not surprised in the least about our performance because you can’t give what you do not have”.
Coming down to specifics as to why the Nigerian women 4x400m relay team failed, Ogunkoya said, “it was a technical problem. The girls did their best. The time they returned in the semi-final was faster than the time returned by the bronze winners in the final.
“I believe if the girl who ran the first leg had anchored the race, we would have returned with something, especially with the failure of the dreaded Jamaicans in the final.”
However, she praised the quartet for showing a lot of maturity as they had just graduated from the juniors. “I am happy with their performance because on in 2015, they won the African Juniors but today they are running in the world stage as full internationals. It is a good beginning for them.”
Ogunkoya who won a bronze in 400m at the Atlanta Olympics blamed heads of sports federations for not putting their priorities right.
“They should know that it is not only when we have the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games that they will go to government and ask for money.
There are other meets that are as important. We also have the African championships, the World Junior championships, among others. Administrators should table requests for money early enough so that government would have enough time to succeed. We must make sports a priority because apart from keeping the youths busy, sports is an employer of labour. It means a lot to the average Nigerian youth.”