"Dont dump Nigeria"

Vanguard newspaper online:

Nigeria: Don’t Dump National Team, Coach Begs Damola Osayomi
7 May 2010

  Former African women sprints champion, Damola Osayomi is facing a dilemma. She is divided on whether to run for Nigeria or some other country at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Osayomi reached this crossroad because she was treated shoddily, after helping Nigeria win a bronze at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in China. But the coach who plucked her from obscurity, Samuel Akinyemi has appealed to the athlete to think twice and come back home and prove her worth.

"Nigeria is such a country! It is only when you are doing well they will check on you. But I don’t want Damola to give up on Nigeria.

“I will advise her to fight and regain her running form and put herself in the picture once again. She still has a lot to give in athletics and I want her to come home and prove it, at this year’s Commonwealth Games,” Akinyemi said.

At the Berlin 2009 World Championships, Osayomi was a shadow of herself. She didn’t make it to the second round of the women’s 100m, an event in which she fought her way to the final in the 2007 Worlds in Osaka, Japan.

Osayomi who won a double at the 2007 All African Games in Algeria, blamed her predicament on injury and mysterious sickness that struck her. She disclosed that she was left to her fate by the country that she served with all her heart.

"I was nursing an injury at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. But I ran with pain to win a bronze for the country, as we are talking there is no single thank you.

“I was sick and in pain, but I was left alone to pay for the medical bills,” sighed Osayomi in an interview. She concluded that she was drained of all enthusiasm to run for Nigeria.