Former director-general of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Otunba Gbenga Elegbeleye, has blamed lack of preparations for the failure of the nation’s contingent to excel at the just concluded 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Elegbeleye, who was in-charge when the team had an impressive outing at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, two years ago, opined that a lack of continuity of the programmes set out to bring out the best in the athletes in their various sports was another major factor.
“Nigeria did not do well at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. It was a total failure. We won only a bronze medal in the football event which was very poor just like it happened at the 2012 Olympics where we did not win any medal, too.
“I must confess to you [that] I really didn’t expect Nigeria to do well at that Olympics, because we didn’t prepare well for it.
“People definitely had high hopes that Team Nigeria would do well at the Rio Olympics, having had an impressive outing at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. I believe Nigerians had every reason to be hopeful, after that [Commonwealth Games].
“Sport is all about continuity and the athletes involved must constantly be in the mood to compete. The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was Nigeria’s best ever participation in the competition. It was right for everyone to expect the nation to go one better at the Olympics, two years later, with the likes of Ese Brume who won gold in Glasgow as a home- based athlete, expected to come good.
“I think if there had been proper monitoring and constant competitions for her to participate in and enough support she would have made the podium at Rio.
“Simply put, there were no proper preparations to aid these athletes’ performances. With good preparations, I see no reason why Nigeria cannot win at least four gold medals; not just the bronze from the football event,”he said