Nigeria female sprint star Blessing Okagbare has lambasted the Athletics Federation of Nigeria over what she describes as poor and shoddy preparations of athletes for the All Africa Games, coming up in Morocco.
Okagbare while speaking in a television sports programme monitored in Lagos, the world class sprinter stated that the list of 53 athletes released by AFN was a good one, as it included all the big names foreign based athletes including Tobi Amusan, Divine Oduduru and others.
Okagbare, however, lamented the poor welfare and preparations of athletes. She was particularly biter that AFN have not been providing training grants for the athletes to help with their preparations for the All Africa Games.
” From my personal view, the AFN has not done well for athletes. I don’t want to speak for other athletes because it is a difficult thing that might throw up bad blood. However, my findings on the preparations for the AAG wasn’t encouraging at all,” she lamented.
” I gathered that the sports ministry have plans to pay each invited foreign based athlete five thousand dollars. And I wonder how much is that to people like me. That’s absolutely ridiculous and inadequate in view of the huge amount some of us spend on keeping fit and to also take care of injuries.
” Can you imagine that they are even thinking about reducing the proposed $5000 to $2000 in order to accommodate more athletes. This is appalling and shameful,” she regretted.
Speaking further, the obviously angry Okagbare hinted that countries like South Africa are not sending their A-list to the AAG, saying it is another opportunity for them to grow and develop their younger local athletes.
” I don’t understand the needs of Nigeria to always to send A- list athletes to every championship. You want to win all the times and yet, you wouldn’t take good care of athletes,” Okagbare blasted conclusively.
By Akeem Busari