Gymnastics expert, Patrick Umoh, has explained why the sport is not popular in Nigeria compared to other sports.
Patrick, who is Head Coach of Gymnastics in Adopt- A-Talent Sports Programme initiated by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant on Grassroots Sports Development to Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, noted that poor facilities, lack of sponsors and dearth of national competitions are the factors responsible for the dwindling fortunes of the sport in the country.
He said most of the facilities for gymnastics in Nigeria are obsolete, adding that there is no way Nigerian gymnasts can compete with their counterparts in international championships.
Umoh, who is worried about the state of gymnastics in Nigeria, tasked the National Sports Commission, NSC, to provide world class facilities that will help the gymnasts to train well ahead of future international competitions.
“It is worrisome that we cannot boast of world class gymnastic facilities in this country. How can we organise an international championship when we don’t have good facilities?” he asked.
“Our athletes always complain that they cannot train with old fashioned facilities. I must confess, I am worried about the future of gymnastics in Nigeria” he said.
Umoh disclosed that gymnastics will continue to be relegated to the background unless the Sports Ministry and relevant sports bodies show interest in the sport.
“I don’t want to blame our gymnasts for not taking part in international championships. Our athletes are facing so many challenges and they cannot live up to expectations whenever they compete in international competitions,” he said.