It has become a norm that in every Olympic year that the kind of shift we put in in terms of preparations determines our output.
Nigeria, unlike Kenya, is not known for long distance races but prior to every Olympic year, its athletics usually returns with fantastic time in 100m, 200m, 400m, and 100 hurdles events in various grand prix events across the globe. They had borne out before the Olympic after showing flashes of brilliance in grand prix and circuit events.
Interestingly, they usually flatter to deceive with impressive time returns but falter and crumbles like pack of cards during major international events like the Olympics. This has been our stock in trade in the last five Olympics; and the trend of succeeding failures has become a major source of concern to sports fans, stake holders and administrators.
But one major factor that gives rise to our underwhelming performances is lack of adequate preparation.
However, the key to optimal performance is preparation. But the administrator’s saddle with the responsibility of preparing athletes for Olympics treats the issue of preparation with kid gloves. Well, the seeming reason advanced by administrators to prepare athletes for major competitions including the biennial Olympic Games, is paucity of funds.
Conceptually, we have an issue to contend with in order to stop this perennial annihilation at the Olympics. The trend has to be halted because it has become an international embarrassment for Nigeria and its athletes to frequently return home empty handed without any Olympic medal. Our poor showing at the Olympics in this period under review is nothing but unmitigated fiasco.
Most importantly, the following suggestions if well applied and judiciously followed, may bring an abrupt end to our monumental failures at the Olympics:
- The Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) has to be structured so that men and women with proven track record in sports management, could be allowed to vie for elective positions in the NOC, and given free hand to run its programs.
- The leadership of the NOC should be transparent in their dealings. Transparency and accountability will attract corporate sponsorship to the NOC instead of continuously depending on subventions from government. And so therefore, monies from sponsorship deals could be judiciously directed towards the execution of NOC programs as well as preparations of athletes for the Olympics.
- Various Committees should be set up by the NOC to monitor the performance level of athletes. Sports medics should always be on ground during camping exercise to ascertain the fitness level of athletes. Scouting department/Committee should be up and doing to harness and discover budding talents whom through gradual integration into an Olympic bound team, and, given the necessary international exposure and preparation, may give established athletes a run for their money, and perhaps turn up to be medal prospect. Coaches of federations should also be empowered to monitor foreign based athletes and invite them for Olympic trials or camp base on their performance at International grand prix.
- Athletes should be regularly and well-motivated during camping exercise for major International events.
- Various federations that make up the NOC should have the benefit of having a psychologist.
- The Usual rancor, bickering and bad blood that characterized and destroy team unity during camping exercise for the Olympics should be dealt with by concerned authorities.
I wish to inform esteem readers of this blog column that with effect from next week; I shall begin a series on the “RUSSIA 2018 WORLD CUP”- relating and bringing back memories of past world cup finals!
I shall also carry out breathtaking analysis and statistics of teams that qualified for the finals. Players’ profile and information will also form part of this preview series of the 2018 world cup finals in Russia.
I will like to have you be part of this epoch making preview series.