By Aderonke Ojediran
Elias Gora, a retired sports administrator says grooming young athletes is necessary for the country to regain its top position in sports in the comity of nations.
Gora, a former Secretary General, Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) said this when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday.
“Often time sports administrators tend to ignore the aspect of grooming athletes. We have said it times without number, deliberate thoughts and action need to be taken.
“Since the likes of Blessing Okagbare, tell me one athlete that is as formidable as she was when she was younger, this is what happens when we fail to train, dearth of professional athletes.
“Before Coronavirus came, check our performances in London and Rio de Janeiro, we honestly can’t keep hoping on God for miracles without putting in the hard work.
“Now with the pandemic, I honestly don’t know what to expect in 2021Tokyo; it is only the wrestling federation and taekwondo that I hear of their training programmes, that have been consistent,” he said.
Gora who was Nigeria’s Chef de’ Mission at the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games said that the best outing the country ever had at the Olympics was in Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000.
“Till tomorrow our best performance was during the Atlanta Games and Sydney, since then what have we got to show for our participation at the Olympics.
“Look at Canada and Australia, when their performance wasn’t at far with their expectations; they went back to the drawing board and decided to focus on some sports; one of it is swimming and till tomorrow they rake in medals for their country in this events,’’ Gora said.
He said that sentiments and nepotism should be put aside in order to get out the best in terms of selection of athletes and coaches for the country.
“As long as we keep looking beyond, tribe, religion and what have you, I believe a lot will fall into place.
“Sport administrators should always bare it in mind that at the end of the day, result is all that matters,’’ he said.