Nigeria’s participation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was once again marred by lack of funds, inadequate preparations and disagreement over Samsung phones.
Nigerian athletes protested on the streets of Tokyo after 10 of them were disqualified from competing in the event, for failing to undergo mandatory tests ahead of the global sports event and consequently, were not given Samsung phones due to them as participants of the Olympic games. They were eventually handed the phones after the IOC confirmed to the Nigerian Olympic committee that they should be given the phones despite their disqualification.
Enoch Adegoke, one of Nigeria’s flag bearers at the games who reached the final in 100 Metres, believes to avoid the aforementioned at subsequent games, Nigeria must be better prepared. He spoke exclusively with omasports from Tokyo, Japan.
“Yes, with the much-needed support from the government and the private sector in Nigeria because there are organizations that can be able to help athletes as well, Nigeria can do better. There are a lot of talents in Nigeria without the support and the few ones who have been able to get things done without support shows that we can do more with the right support.”
The fastest man in Nigeria with a record personal best of 9.97 also lamented the lack of corporate support for athletes in Nigeria. He called on corporate Nigeria to support Nigerian athletes.
“There are a lot of companies in Nigeria that can support athletes. Someone was even talking about banks and drink makers who can support athletes as it is done in many other countries in the world.
Let them support us, let them pick up athletes to be like ambassadors for their various companies you know, marketing and everything. It would be a two-way thing, Athletes alone would not gain, it would be a win-win on both sides because it is not charity.”
Nigeria recorded 2 medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. A bronze in the women’s long jump event (Ese Brume) and silver in Wrestling Women’s freestyle 68kg (Blessing Oborududu)
With Paris 20204 in view, Enoch talks about what Nigeria must do to have a better performance at the next Olympic games.
“I think there should just be a follow up to getting athletes prepared, everything that athletes need for training and all should be available. There should just be the right support both from individuals, the private sector and the government. I was saying in one of my interviews that if some things are taken away from the thought of an athlete. Things like I need money to buy supplements, I need money for food, I need money for my welfare. If all that is taken care of, the athletes will know that I just have to focus on my training sessions, let my coach do the work. If all things are taken care of, I think there will be more focus on the part of the athletes as well.”
Enoch, who became the first Nigerian sprinter to qualify for the 100m men’s final at the Olympics since Davidson Ezinwa in the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, crashed out of the Tokyo Olympics 100m men’s final as he pulled hamstring metres away from the finish line.