Minister of Youth and Sports Sunday Dare on Monday, at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja, inaugurated a nine-person committee to review Nigeria’s performance at the recently concluded 2019 World Athletics Championship, Doha, Qatar.
The Committee on the Participation of Athletics Federation of Nigeria at the 2019 World Athletics Championship will among other things, “appraise the causes and factors responsible for the abysmal performance of the Team Nigeria of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria” in Doha and propose measures to “ensure improved performance of Nigeria’s Athletes at major Championships.”
The committee will have one week to carry out their function and turn in their report.
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) came in for criticism after what many perceived to be a poor outing in Doha where the country’s contingent only returned a bronze medal won by long jump queen Ese Brume.
AFN technical director Sunday Adeleye was recalled from Doha and issued with an official query as a result.
Part of the committee’s function will also be to “evaluate and advise on the response of the Technical Director of the AFN, Mr. Sunday Adeleye, to the query issued to him.”
Addressing members of the committee at the Minister’s Conference Room at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Dare said the disparity in the performance of Nigeria’s athletes in Doha and the 12th Africa Games in Morocco where Nigeria led the Athletics medal table was cause for concern.
He wondered why other African countries who had been bested by Nigeria in Morocco were able to perform much better and finish with more medals than Nigeria at the World Championships in Doha.
The committee, Dare said, would help the Ministry work towards “mitigating the unpleasant experiences of Doha in order to avoid future reoccurrences,”.
“The concern of the Ministry on the performance of the AFN athletes is underscored by the fact that Team Nigeria of the AFN at the 12th Africa Games held in Morocco in August 16-31, 2019 led the Athletics Medal Table with 23 medals comprising 10 Gold, 7 Silver and 6 Bronze,” Dare said.
“Kenya occupied the 2nd Position with a total of 20 medals comprising 10 Gold, 7 Silver and 3 Bronze. However, at the Doha World Athletics Championship, Kenya came 2nd in the overall medal table and 1st Position in Africa with a total of 11 medals while Nigerian achieved a distant 9th Position to Kenya with a win of only a Bronze medal.
“The countries of Ethiopia, Uganda, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Morocco and Namibia all came above Nigeria in Africa.”
“Hence the logical question to ask is, was the performance of our athletes at the 12th All Africa Games a fluke?”