12th September, 2011
Team Nigeriaâ€™s hope of adding the triple jump gold medal to their medal haul at the ongoing 10th All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique, has been dealt a big blow as the organisers of the Games have withdrawn the gold medal won by Otonye Iworima.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Iworima yesterday jumped 14.47m to win the triple jump gold, raising Nigeria’s medal hunt by four gold medals.
However, Algeria, who came second in the event, filed a protest challenging the gold medal won by Iworima.
The Algerians claimed that the Nigerian athlete stepped over the board before taking the 14.47m leap. They therefore asked the organisers to strip Nigeria of the medal for Baya Rahouli, who was second.
Speaking this morning from Maputo on Ray Power, Media Officer of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, Tony Ubani, said the organisers yielded to the request of Algeria, stripped Iworima of the medal and gave it to the Algerian lady.
â€œI can reveal authoritatively that Iworima has been stripped of the triple jump gold medal after the organisers decided to study the protest filed by the Algerians and review the video clips of the disputed jump,” said Ubani.
He added that Nigerian officials are still taking their time whether to file a counter protest. â€œI can tell you this is not going to be the end of the matter as we are currently studying what happened and hopefully at the end of today or tomorrow we will take a decision on the next line of action. We are not going to fold our hands and let this stand,â€ he said.
The image maker of the NOC also stated that the bad news came as a shock and was painful to Team Nigeria as all athletes and officials were lamenting about the incident.
â€œIworima couldnâ€™t believe that all her efforts to win the gold medal had gone in vain,â€ Ubani said.