29th June, 2012
By Bimbo Ajayi
Australia based Nigerian athlete, Bola Lawal has said that he is not finished despite not winning a race at the just concluded 66th All Nigeria/C.R.S Athletics Championship, which was held at the U J Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Cross River State.
The 36 year old athlete came last in the 400m Men’s final with a time of 47.49s and said he hopes to return to the country with a better performance.
He said he was impressed with the stiff competition he got from other athletes at the athletics declaring that they are signs of a good outing for Team Nigeria at the London 2012 Olympics.
In his words ‘I had a very bad time here, (Calabar) I actually did not expected an easy race but I must confess Nigeria is blessed with some good runners, track and events can win Team Nigeria a number of medals at the Olympics’.
Lawal was at the Beijing, China 2008 Olympic and believes with the right frame of mind and motivation from the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN that the athletes can spring some surprises.
He stated further that the AFN should be commended for staging the meet and the Cross River State government for hosting saying ‘The athletics was well organised, the timing device used is of Olympic standard, I would always want to visit Calabar whenever the opportunity comes because the people are accommodating’.
He also tipped Nigerian athletes participating at the18th African Senior Athletics Championships in Port Novo, Benin Republic to do well and also emerge overall winners at the athletics meet.
At the 17th edition, that was held at the Nyayo Stadium in central Nairobi, Kenya, Team Nigeria were edged to the second place despite running neck and neck with the host country till the last day but Lawal is of the view that this year’s edition will be a different affair.
He also feels, Abiola Onakoya, who came first in the final of the 400m event can win a Nigeria a medal stating “Onakoya won’t be a pushover in Benin, he has what it takes to win the 400m if things work out well for him, but generally Team Nigeria will not disappoint,” he said.