By Patrick Omorodion, John Egbokhan
The brouhaha triggered by the banning of 10 Nigerian athletes from competing in the athletics events of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics Games continues to thunder on with some of the banned athletes crying out that they have been left shattered by the unsavoury development in Tokyo, Japan.
This is even as former president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN Dan Ngerem, described the development as a calamitous disaster for the country. Athletes omitted by the IOC from the original list presented by Team Nigeria include Glory Patrick, Yinka Ajayi,
Godbless, Chidi Okezie, Knowledge Omovoh, Ruth Usoro, Favor Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Chioma Onyekwere, and Annette Echikunwoke.
This comes as the AFN has taken responsibility for the athletes’ embarrassing ban.
“It must be noted that no Nigerian athlete tested positive to prohibited substances. The AFN has taken proactive steps to avoid future occurrences by appointing Professor Ken Anugweje as the head of the Medical and Anti-Doping Commission of the Federation.”
Meanwhile former president of the Athletics Federation of Nigerian, AFN, Mr. Dan Ngerem has described the disqualification of 10 Nigerian athletes from participating in the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as a “calamitous disaster” and “and palpable incompetence” on the part of those managing sports in the country.
Arguing that it was painful for athletes who have prepared and trained hard for the competition to be disqualified, Ngerem said it was sad that the AFN, the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC which presented the athletes for the Games, and the sports ministry could not handle elementary things like doping regime.
Speaking on phone from his base in Lagos, Ngerem said: “It’s is a calamitous disaster for Nigeria both in terms of the sport that is involved, in terms of national PR and brand equity and most of all before the comity of Nations.
”We couldn’t the elementary things right. We are talking athletics and you can imagine the state of mind of these athletes. You know it will percolate to the minds of the other athletes. Imagine if I’m a weightlifter in that camp and all of a sudden there is disarray and dissonance, it will reverberate all over.
”That means from the federating unit to the NOC that presents the athletes for competition and the sports ministry, it is total culpability and palpable incompetence”.
Arguing further, the Imo-born former sports administrator said that while it was painful that it was the AFN that is currently in the storm of embarrassment is because “is that in the last couple of years, there have been about two or three factions of the AFN and the Secretary-General is always posted by the minister of sports.
In fact, at times he is the chief accounting officer and chief administrator”.
He stressed that the world is now in a digital, electronic and internet global village
where information is free and posted for all to see, adding, “but did anybody (from the AFN) write to the World Athletics to ask “are we in compliance and if not what should
They didn’t do anything, rather people were just running around preparing for the travel and the estacode”. He said that Nigeria is now a laughing stock before the continental and world bodies as he disclosed that a Senegalese official from the Confederation of African Athletics, CAA expressed shock that Nigeria could not test their athletes before departing to a major competition like the Olympics.
Ngerem however said that he hopes that “there are psychologists in the camp that will advise other athletes in other sports so that their spirit is not dampened|”.