Festival Has Lost Its Glamour —Obajimi

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With three weeks remaining before the start of the 2012 National Sports Festival in Lagos, Nigeria’s foremost athletics administrator, Mrs. Gloria Abimbola Obajimi, has said that the glamour attached to the multi-sports championship in the past is no longer there.

Speaking about her expectations from the Sports Festival, Obajimi, who is the Acting Registrar of the Nigeria Institute for Sports, NIS, said over the years, the championship seems to lose the focus of its founding fathers.

The captain of Nigeria’s women team to the World University Games in1979 said  the laudable objective of using the festival to unearth sports talents that abounds all over the country has been defeated.

“In 1973 when we competed at the National Sports Festival it was for us to showcase our talents for sports administrators that were on ground to discover athletes for national assignments. Unlike these days where most of the athletes that are participating at the festival are established sports men and women who are already household names in the country,” Obajimi said.

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On what was responsible for the lost of focus on the objectives of the National Sports Festival, Obajimi said: “The win at all costs attitude of most of the states that had hosted the championship in the past, and laziness on the part of our coaches to discover athletes are responsible for the lost of glamour at the festival.

“I could still recall that in our days we would have to prepare for months before the championship. But today, you will see some states through their coaches, poaching established athletes from other states to compete for them. That would not help in the discovery and development of home athletes.”

—Bamidele Olowosagba