3rd September, 2012
Chika Chukwumerije has charged Nigerian athletes to look beyond government’s support if they must succeed in their careers.
Chukwumerije, a Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in taekwondo, who crashed out in the first round of the London 2012 Olympic Games, said during a press conference in Lagos, that it is high time Nigerian athletes reach out to corporate Nigeria and individuals for assistance, instead of relying on the government to prepare them for international competitions like the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.
“I came to realise that the governments in Nigeria have failed the athletes and relying on them is like an exercise in futility. How can an athlete succeed when the government come around to help few months to the Olympic Games.
“So, the athletes, who rely on our government would be planning to fail. That’s why I will advise Nigerian athletes not wait for the government to prepare them for competitions again,” said the Captain of Team Nigeria to the recently concluded London Games.
He advised the athletes to seek sponsorship elsewhere if they want to compete with their counterparts in international competitions.
Chukwumerijie said it is heart breaking to see Nigerian athletes train for a whole year without taking part in any international competition.
“I think our athletes should seek financial support from the corporate bodies. This will enable them go for competitions abroad instead of waiting on the government for the funds which will never come.
“The athletes who won medals at the London Olympics trained very well and attended many international competitions prior to the Games, that’s why they achieved their targets,” he said.
Chukwumeriije he was heartbroken to see Nigerian athletes representing other countries at the London Olympics, and urged the National Sports Commission, NSC, to begin preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games immediately.