Team Nigeria Target Top Place


Team Nigeria are going to the 2010 Commowealth Games in India for two things; first to  finish as the top Africa team and secondly to do Nigeria proud as the country celebrate  her 50th independence anniversary.

Officials of the National Sports Commission, NSC, have declared that the country’s  athletes will be targeting to finish as the top African team at the 19th Commonwealth  Games, which begin in New Delhi on 3 October.

“Our main target is to ensure that we finish as the best African team at the Games,” said  the Director General, DG of the NSC,  Patrick Ekeji.

“We are presenting athletes who we are sure will give us medals. The era of taking a  crowd to international competitions and creating a lot of scene is over. We want total  concentration and not confusion in the camp,” insisted the president of the Athletics  Federation of Nigeria, AFN, Solomon Ogba.

At the last edition in Melbourne, Australia, South Africa finished as Africa’s best team  with 12 golds, 13 silvers and 13 bronze medals, while Kenya finished five places below  with 6 golds, 5 silvers and 7 bronze medals.

Nigeria placed 12th with 4 golds, 6 silvers and 7 bronze medals with special sports  athletes contributing three of these golds, while Monday Merohun and Segun Toriola got  the country’s other gold in the table tennis men’s double event.

Nigeria will compete in track and field, boxing, weightlifting, wrestling, special sports  and table tennis.

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The country’s hopes will again be in special sports, athletics and table tennis with the  multi-talented Blessing Okagbare, the star at the recent African Athletics Championship  in Kenya, Nigeria’s biggest medal prospect.

Okagbare will feature in the 100m and 200m sprints, the long jump as well as anchor the  4x100m relay team.

Ajoke Odumosu, who set a new national record of 54.68 secs in the 400m hurdles in Split,  Croatia, last month, is also expected to medal, while British-based triple jumper Tosin  Oke, gold medallist at the African Championships, is favoured to reach the podium in  Delhi.

Sprints star Olusoji Fasuba, who won silver in the men’s 100m four years ago in  Australia, is not part of Nigeria’s contingent to the games after falling out with the  authorities.

Nigeria will not present any male relay teams at the games. This is a huge setback for a  nation that won 4x400m gold at the Sydney Olympics and 4x100m bronze at the Barcelona  Olympics in 1992 and the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Morale in the team has sagged, however, as athletes complained of poor preparation and a  drastic cutback on their daily camping allowances.

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