Assuming these athletes, Chioma Ajunwa and Blessing Okagbare, are daughters of the same time, I might be comparing; meanwhile they aren’t. Okagbare, had difficulties at the London 2012 Olympics, as a result of recurring injuries. Ajunwa is the first Nigerian athlete to win gold in an individual sport at the Olympics. Last year, the London Paralympics happened to be the only Game Team Nigeria could savage medals from. In the next four years, the world will have another Olympic. Myself, I will be too old for that Olympic; so I don’t want to be too satirical. If we should have another of the Chioma kinds, our reputation would be better for it.
Okagbare came with great expectations, but couldn’t make it to success due to injury. She fielded in the Track events, amongst which were the, 200m, 100m dash, and the Long Jump, a category she won Bronze at the Beijing games. Ajunwa was the Policewoman, who got away with an Olympic Gold in the Long Jump category in 96. What really became of the Dream Team, the future Athletes will tell? In the modern time of technology and social network, everybody is involved in issues that has to do with sports development. The government also has a lot of roles to play.
After Ajunwa won gold in the Atlanta games, government promised the athlete may gifts as a sign of appreciations. I wonder how the Policewoman will come out to say, she has gotten nothing. A token of appreciation should be given willingly. As for Okagbare, a meal at the banquet hall, with The President, Ministers, Governors and other dignitaries is all she might have gotten, because her crop of athletes had no medal to their names.
If the youths should get more involved in sports, and move away from the street; our society will be a better place. What is it with fame; our Nigerian Football had been there before, first in the 80’s, 90’s and recently in 2013. The most important thing is winning more laurels with the team that looks capable of winning anything on offer. We should start planning to qualify for the next football event in the next Olympic. The two athletes are talents from different times, but quite a class in their times. That image of a jubilant Dream girl and the dismal performance of an athlete with high expectations, time changes, isn’t it? For sure the National Sports Council had a hand in many of these. Going from being a medal hopeful, to having to hustle for Bronze at an all important games like the Olympics, something had gone wrong along the line.
The sports sector, if improved by showing the necessary support, Team Nigeria will be better for it. But if the members of the Local Organising Committee are juggernauts reshuffling files up and down the breadth of the office without paying attention to issues affecting our Athletes. We might be years away from fixing these issues of underperformance, as it affects our Athletes. Okagbare, in all its ramifications is a class act the LOC had to offer in 2012. What baffles me is the inability of the Sports Council to get the System involved in sports development. It’s like having many hands on deck to stare the Ship. What becomes of the Ajunwas of the future, if they can’t be discovered and groomed for their role in the future? What an Appalling tales of two different times.