Igwe Explains Okagbare's Flop


The London 2012 Olympic Games may have come and gone, but reactions are still trailing the inability of Nigeria and Africa’s fastest woman, Blessing Okagbare, to win a medal at the recently concluded London 2012 Olympic Games.

Latest to comment on Okagbare’s recent flop is veteran athletics coach, Tobias Igwe.

The athletics coach, who has produced many athletes, said the pressure on her by Nigerians and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, was one of the reasons she failed to win a medal for the country.

Igwe said from experience, the athletes who are under pressure to perform, end up winning nothing because they do not concentrate on their races.

According to Igwe: “It’s pity that Okagbare did not win a medal at the Olympics. The main reason is that so much was expected from her and at the end of the day she failed all of us, everybody had tipped her to win a gold medal for Nigeria but she never did”.

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Aside from the pressure on the athlete, Igwe said her involvement in the long jump and other events, also took a toll on her, stating that if the AFN had allowed her to channel all her energy on the 100m, she would have won medal.

Continuing, the coach said it was high time that the AFN and the National Sports Commission, NSC, start grooming the athletes who would take over from the ageing ones.

“Most of our athletes are getting old, the worrisome aspect of it is that the young ones are not always given the chance to test their ability”.

On what should be done to forestall a recurrence, which befell Okagbare at the Olympics, he said the country needs to develop budding athletics talents from the grassroots, organise track and field competitions regularly and monitor those discovered there, “Nigeria can return to winning ways if the authorities can organise tournaments for young students and undergraduates, who have flair for athletics. They should not stop there but go ahead by keeping close tab on them.”

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