C/wealth Games: Non-Resumption of Camping Criminal –Ebewele
By Duro Ikhazuagbe, 01.23.2006
T he non-resumption of camping of Nigerian athletes from the Christmas break to continue preparations for the Commonwealth Games scheduled for March in Melbourne, Australia has been described as ‘criminal’.
Brown Ebewele, director of the Edo State Sports Council told THISDAYSports at the weekend in Lagos that the inability of the athletes to resume their training because of the non provision of necessary tools for the various camps was the surest way to failing to win medals in Australia.
“This is very sad. I do not know how any sane person will expect these athletes who have been out of camp before Christmas to rush into Australia to win gold medals. Sports business is not done that way. You reap what you sow,” observed the former national decathlon record holder.
Ebewele said he found it very amusing to hear Nigerians saying that we will go to Melbourne and win not less than five gold medals in athletics and other sports.
“How do you want to achieve that? Let me refresh your memory if you’ve forgotten. In 1994 when we went to Victoria (Canada), Nigeria won six gold medals in weightlifting alone.
" Mary Onyali won the women’s 100m and our male 4 x 100m team set new records in that event. It was through hard work. Before the games, you could feel the strength of our athletes, perhaps due to the kind of training they had. Can you say the same for this team heading for Melbourne? Besides, should we still be talking of winning five medals when we won six gold in just one sport 12 years ago?” queried the track coach fondly called Juju man.
On the Mobil Commonwealth Games trial scheduled for February 9-11, the Edo Sports Council boss believes that it was well timed because all serious minded athletes should have programmed their training in such a way that “they should be in top shape to compete for places in the team heading for Australia.”
He agreed that in this indoor season Nigerian athletes of note hardly feature since they would not want to disrupt their schedule for the Commonwealth Games.
Ebewele particularly feels sad that there are hardly any Nigerian athletes one can count upon now to do the magic in track and field.
"Unlike before when you find between two and three Nigerians featuring in the finals of both the Olympics and the World Championships can you boast of the same situation at present?
Yet some small people who just want to earn estacode are branding me a prophet of doom for telling them the reality of the present situation of our sports!”
Earlier in the week, a high level official of the sports ministry had confided in THISDAYSports that the plan to have Nigerian athletes camp in the United States for month before the Games in Melbourne was still on the card.