London 2012 Olympics end as Nigeria return with no medal

The Spectacular Closing Ceremony…on Sunday

The London 2012 Olympic Games ended on Sunday with Team Nigeria returning home with no medal, raising questions over the N1.9bn budgeted for the Nigeria’s participation at the Games.

It was an unusual record compared to the nation’s achievements at the Games in the past two decades. It was one that reminded Nigerians of the woeful performance recorded when Nigerian did not win any medal at Seoul ’88.

In London, Nigeria’s hopes for medals were shouldered by the athletics team, where Blessing Okagbare was regarded as a match for Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and Carmelita Jeter of the US in the women’s 100m. But Okagbare finished the final in the 8th position, blaming her poor performance on injury despite competing till the end.

In the long jump, she had an equally bad outing, failing to qualify for the final after finishing in the 17th position. In the women’s 4x100m relay race, Christy Udoh, Gloria Asumnu, Oludamola Osayomi and Okagbare did put up a fight but the 42.64 time recorded by them was only good as their season’s best with Nigeria ending in the 4th position.

Ajoke Odumosu also raised the nation’s hopes when she reached the 400m hurdles but she came last to end all medal expectations from the race.

The basketball team reached the Olympics for the first time with much expectation, especially after beating Greece and Lithuania, respectively ranked 4th and 5th in the world, during the qualifiers.

They even gladdened the nation’s heart with a win over African champions, Tunisia, in their first match at the Olympics, but defeats by to Lithuania, Argentina, US and France ended first basketball participation at the Games with one win.

There was disappointment after the table tennis team was ousted a day after the opening ceremony but there were last minute hopes that later produced no medals for Nigeria.

Team Nigeria’s Captain Chika Chukwumerije, who won a bronze at the last Olympic Games in Beijing, China was seen as a medal prospect in taekwondo because of the preparation he had before the Games. He did not begin his contest until a day before the closing ceremony, but in his only fight, he lost to Cuban opponent, Robelis Despaigne, in the men’s+80kg class.

A few hours after his defeat on Saturday, another hope was dashed when the women’s 4x400m relay team was disqualified in the final. It was however not the final straw as hopes of any type of medal rested on Sinivie Boltic, a male wrestler in the freestyle 96kgcategory. He drew bye into the quarterfinals where he met Republic of Moldova’s Ceban Nicolai on Sunday. But like other athletes that represented Nigeria, Boltic did not get to the medal zone, ending all hopes for Nigeria.

A few weeks before the Games commenced, there was controversy over the release of funds as sports federations bosses had to look for money to prepare athletes for the competition. Chukwumerije was the only athlete who had first class preparation for the Games. He was treated for an injury in London and sent to Korea to prepare for his taekwondo event.

Reacting to the nation’s failure in London, a member of the Association of Veteran Sports Administrators Forum, Martins Osaile, said Nigerians should hold the Federal Government responsible for the poor outing.

Osaile said, “Before 1999 when we returned to democratic rule, our sport was healthy, today it is almost dead. The present government in the hands of our people is not ready to develop sport in Nigeria. They play game with the future of our athletes. They have forgotten that there is political power in achieving excellence in global events.

“When the present head of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Sanni Ndanusa, was the president of tennis federation, I challenged him to list his achievements in the sport. To the surprise of Nigerians, he became the sports minister and now NOC president. That shows how the Nigerian government has relegated sport in Nigeria.”

Osaile advised the athletes to challenge their leaders and free themselves from their hold.

“Usain Bolt made over $30m from endorsement last year and there are many others that were not documented for public consumption. How many Nigerian athletes made anything from endorsement in the past one year? The US announced last week that camp for the 2016 Olympics would open in September, here in Nigeria, we will not start until three months to the Games,” Osaile said.

Former boxer and an Olympian, Jeremiah Okorodudu, said the boxers who represented Nigeria in London were not ready for the contest.

He said, “We had three boxers but they were not good enough to win medals. They were picked from the National Sports Festival which was wrong. If we are going to use the festival as Olympic qualifier, it should be made open. You cannot take rookies to a big event like the Olympics.”

Okorodudu also said Nigeria was heading for a major failure when training tours are not properly handled before the Games.

“In the past when Nigeria did well at the Olympics, training tours were not limited to putting athletes in a hotel and training at a remote facility. Tours are meant to expose the athletes and put them in proper shape for the big events,” he said.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “London 2012 Olympics end as Nigeria return with no medal

  1. Pingback: Highlights from the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. « sportainmentblog

  2. Omolade Owoseni

    i am highly disappointed at the abyssimal performance and the show of shame of the Nigerian athletes at the 2012 Olympics, despite the whooping sum of 1.9 billion naira wasted on it. This money should have gone into the provision of modern health facilities, education, power supply, roads and agriculture. To sum it up, corruption has cost NIGERIA this failure. From Omolade Owoseni, Washington, DC. U.S.A.

    • Many thanks Omolade for your kind thoughts and contribution. I appreciate your contribution to this blog aimed at orchestrating the awareness needed in achieving the desired positive change we’ve all been clamouring for in our dear country Nigeria. Keep it coming with my best regards.

  3. Olajide Omoyeni

    Its a dramatic and unacceptable show of shame. In my mind, this is a portrayal of the failure and nonchallance of this present government that fails at everything! You have to get your electricity! Your water! Your health! And even pay all by yourself to train for a big show like Olympic to bring glory to your nation? This government should be ashamed that it has failed Nigerians in everything!

    • Thanks Olajide for your very passionate contributory comment. I share your kind thoughts absolutely. Best regards and please remember to stop by again to contribute here so together we can achieve that elusive positive change our dear Nigeria deserve.

  4. It is a pity that with all the money and the population in that country ,there is no hope to get a good minister to look after the sport ,wonderful, is a shame to the whole country, and the people incharge are not worried if the country do bad or not, once the money do ends in their pocket they careless, but the days of judgement is nearer.During the time of Amu, Erinle, Ajado, Omogbemi Nigeria do win medals, because the people incharge has the fear of GOD, but this is no more in NIGERIA OF TODAY.

    • Many thanks Omo Oye for your sincere comment. My sentiments exactly. May God rescue Nigeria sooner than later. Pls feel free to stop by again and again to contribute your ideas for positive change in Nigeria

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