By Ben Efe
Former African women triple jump champion, Rosa Collins has urged Nigerian sports officials to put an end to the suffering of Nigerian athletes, otherwise more embarrassing moments and athletes defection will continue.
The Delta State-born athlete was speaking against the background of upheavals facing the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, following the June 13, 2017 federations elections in which she was out maneuvered, by forces working for the Sports Minister. Collins argued that the country’s sports administrators were less concerned about the welfare of Nigerian athletes, hence the often trouble times facing the sport and its practitioners. “Our athletes are suffering. I was once an athlete, I fell victim to the machinations of athletics officials.
“So nobody has to tell how much pain our present athletes are going through and I don’t blame anyone for running to Qatar or Bahrain. Our athletes will go into camping without being paid, they will go to competition and they will not be paid, they have personal needs and families to take care.
“I want the IAAF president Seb Cole who is a former athlete himself to look into what is happening in Nigerian athletics. “Our athletes are suffering and something must be done. Our country is now a laughing stock “This is why I am calling on my fellow athletes. It is time to put our heads together no matter our differences and save our sport. I know we can do it better than the politicians are doing it now.
She reiterated her continued oppostion to the election that brought forth Ibrahim Gusau as AFN president. “Personally I still hold on to my position that there wasn’t any election. But they said we are sportsmen and women and let bygone be bygone. I agree but what I expected Gusau to do is to call for a dialouge, but he hasn’t done so, must I be the one to throw myself on him. “Since he has not deemed it fit to call for a way forward we have to standby and look.”