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Bio Statement London Games - Nigeria Still Hopeful Despite Table Tennis, Boxing Exit

Aug 02, 2012 (Leadership/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- Though some members of 'Team Nigeria' are gradually crashing out of the ongoing London Olympic Games, several leading officials still appear confident of winning awards, including gold.

The ageing table tennis team spoke tough, praising their preparedness for the Games, but in one fell swoop, they were removed even before the Games could barely get off to a real beginning. It was not surprising that a formerly dominant team in the ping pong paddle best African continent was no longer a team to guess, since it was struggling to match the guts of Egyptian groups it once dominated for at least two decades in the African continent.

While the North Africans were trying hard to build on a solid foundation, Nigeria was rather deluding itself that it had been the medium regional power from the game. Mitchell Obi, a Lagos-based sports pundit, said in an interview that Nigeria started failing to arrest the decline that the moment the Egyptians began to match the speed of the West Africans in the game.


According to him, while the Egyptians and really their North African neighbours were increasing their level of challenge, the Congolese, went for the Chinese, but not only seeking their technical support but embracing their nationals to star for them. Though it was a virtue to build longevity of gamers like Segun Toriola for a location at a Olympic group, in the event the nation still had the right type of programme set up to strain more gamers, but a whole dependence on old war horses to sustain the dominance at a dynamic, where a participant could hardly maintain a top rating for much too long, would be counterproductive. According to a source close to this Nigeria Table Tennis, who pleaded anonymity, it was foolhardy to continue to parade veteran players like Toriola and Funke Oshonaike at a sport, where youthfulness and evolving techniques were rather significant."

There are not any sentiments in raising teams to high profile events like the Olympics. There's absolutely no way a two-month prep can make up to get a four-year intensive groundwork." If we must get it right, we must be sincere with a rebuilding procedure. We have to increase the level of our training content. It's been in decline for a while. We will need to under study the Chinese, that are now masters of the game."A Manchester-based Nigerian dining table tennis follower, Johnson Abejide, that took a holiday to be in London for the Games, said the era of miracles is over. "It seems that only Africans and indeed, Nigerians rely on sentiments and standing to raise its group to the Olympic Games."

Oshonaike, attributed her departure to the rising impact of the Chinese at the sport. She added that she felt frustrated needing to meet the Chinese rival for many nations."Could she really question any autonomous nation's reasons for choosing a pattern it wants to adopt, to run its game," was a question from Nneka Aduba, a London-based Nigerian, that had been driven by patriotism to origin for Nigeria, just to be let down at the easy departure of the nation's table tennis stars.It is hard to pin down the real reasons for the crash. In 1 breath they claimed that the pre-Games build-up was poor, yet a few others insisted that the build up was sufficient.

Under such a circumstance, it would obviously not be possible to really identify the factors for the rapid crash, seen in table tennis, baseball and boxing.No official seems to wish to offend the Government by opting to respond to what seems to be an officially composed response, " that the National Sports Commission (NSC), in conjunction with federations, guaranteed good pre-Games trainings"This is ironic, since in the build up to the Games, federations claimed that they couldn't commence training because due to the failure from the NSC to release capital, for the beginning of the trainings.

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The NSC, during its effective propaganda, clarified that the late release of capital were a consequence of flaws in the passing of the 2012 funding into law from the two arms of the National Assembly - the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The Assembly, on the other hand, claimed that the Executive arm of government was to blame for late presentation of the budget estimates to the parliamentarians.In all of these, the athletes appear to be at the receiving end. They're those expected to win medals, even when it was obvious they were not adequately prepared - they could not commence preparations because their federations could not find funds to embark on preparations. They could not also find funds to prepare for qualifications, for all those, especially, team events.

It's against this back drop that some analysts, sports buffs and some Nigerians have cautioned that unless, all stakeholders decide to be forthright in considering rather than openly and dispassionately looking for discussing the issue, to locate a solution, then the solution to the issue of athletics development would remain a mirage.Maybe the only time the country admitted to the real reasons for the collapse, would only be at the conclusion of the Games, when there could have been obvious reasons that the nation failed to create chords.


In all these, the athletes have been left to lick their wounds, their failure. Jonathan Akinyemi, Nigeria's first Olympic slalom canoe competitor, had yet to come to terms with his unsuccessful bid to proceed in the men's kayak K1 occasion.The 23-year-old, who fought with financial help from his dad to qualify, it was learnt, only succeeded to be the first Nigerian to have scored a first, to compete to the nation. The athlete was devastated at his failure to advance to the semis.

The secretary of the Canoeing Federation, Bunmi Oluode, was said to have confirmed that Akinyemi was devastated at his loss."It's a sad one for us and for Akinyemi. He is still bemoaning his loss since he had to come to terms at his failure to create a powerful effect," Oluode has been quoted as having stated."We have told him to examine the positive sides of being a worthy representative of the nation - trail-blazer for Nigeria in the London Games.

"But Sports Minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, that watched Akinyemi as he fought against the massive violent waters, described the athlete's efforts as soul-lifting, stressing: "I'm proud of his attempts."You needed to watch his bravery from the turbulent waters, to appreciate the effort he strove to exert to be a worthy ambassador of the country at the Games."He has started something that will open doors to other Nigerians from the sport," Abdullahi said.

Most Nigerians who were keeping their hopes alive for medals appear to be relying largely on athletics that had yet to start, pinning their hopes on the nation's lone rising star in the game - Blessing Okagbare, for awards.President of Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba, whose federation appeared at difficult times at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, and also the 10th All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique, guaranteed his team could perform their best."

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I am not promising anything outstanding. All I wish to see here is really for our athletes to reach the semi-final stages of their different occasions. From there, anything can happen."Nigerians in London, however love the problem being faced in hunting for medals, by a group that might not have been satisfactorily prepared, are nonetheless, expecting medals from sports, taekwondo and wrestling, from where the awards had come from previously.