Nigerian Athletes competing well EVERYWHERE…EXCEPT NIGERIA!!!

19 May

What do Femi Ogunode, Chijindu Ujah, Lyukman Adams and Kemi Adekoya all have in common? Well, there is a continuing trend which continues to show itself plainly all over the World of Athletics – Nigerians are supremely TALENTED people. Only problem is, Nigeria does not seem to be reaping the benefits of this embarrassment of riches when it comes to talent. A cursory look at this weekend’s Track & Field action all over the world shows athletes of Nigerian origin doing big things everywhere, albeit for their adopted countries or countries of birth…

Firstly, the annual GreatCity Games on the streets of Manchester took place on Saturday, and while the highlight of the event was surely Yohan Blake’s return from last year’s hamstring injury with at 14.71s win in the 150 metres, Qatar’s Femi Ogunode and Britain’s Chijindu Ujah, finished 1st & 2nd in the 100metres with times of 10.10s and 10.14s respectively, ahead of Team GB’s recently crowned 60m World Indoor Champion Richard Kilty:

So who are Ogunode and Ujah? Well Femi Ogunode is the second athlete that Nigeria lost to Qatar, after Asian 100m Record Holder, Samuel Francis. Ogunode moved to Qatar in 2009 and started competing for them the following year. He is the 200m National Record Holder for Qatar with 20.30s. He just returned from a 2-year drug suspension, and has started the 2014 Athletics season very well, with the 60m World Indoor Championship bronze medal in March, and a solid 20.38s run in the 200m at the Doha Diamond League  earlier this month. Interestingly, his younger brother, Tosin Ogunode, started competing for Qatar this year, and promptly became the Asian 60m Record Holder with a 6.50s run in January!

Chijindu Ujah on the other hand was born and bred in the UK, so Nigeria cannot lay any claim to him except in his name. He is one of an upcoming new generation of British sprinters who are getting set to light up the world for years to come. He is the current European Junior 100m Champion and also a Silver medallist at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games (u-17). In Saturday’s race, he lowered his PB from 10.26s to 10.14s, which means that at the age of 20, he’s already faster than Nigeria’s best sprinters currently. His is not the only Nigerian name in Team GB’s youth sprint set-up – last year, Ojie Edoborun won a World Youth (u-17) Championships Silver medal in the 100m in 10.35s – even a 17 year-old British-born Nigerian is running as fast as our best senior athletes!

Triple Jumper Lyukman Adams is another outstanding world-class athlete that Nigeria can lay no claim to, apart from the fact that he was born to a Nigerian father, though he has lived his lived his whole life in Russia and never been to Nigeria. The Russian athlete has GOLD and Bronze medals in the Triple Jump from the last two World Indoor Championships, and has also started the 2014 outdoor season well, with a victory in the Shanghai Diamond League yesterday with a 17.10m jump. Interestingly, Britain’s former World Champion and Olympic Silver Medallist, Phillips Idowu, a 17.81m jumper at his best in 2010, was down in 6th place.

The Athletics world is rife with athletes of Nigerian origin doing big things all over the world. USA’s Omo Osaghae is the current 60m Hurdles World Indoor Champion. James Dasaolu is the 2nd fastest Brit in history with 9.91s. Formerly of USA and now competing for Britain, Tiffany Porter (née Ofili) is a World Championship Bronze Medallist in the 100m Hurdles, and also won her race at the GreatCity Games in Manchester on Saturday. But these are mostly athletes that were born abroad so, apart from hailing the origin of their genes, Nigeria cannot take credit for their emergence on the world stage.

Which is why when Athletes born and bred in Nigeria switch countries and also start firing on all cylinders, one has to wonder why no one is Nigeria is prepared to train these athletes to the same level as our rival nations all over the world are prepared to dowhy do we value our own people less than the rest of the world does? The shocking story of Kemi Adekoya’s switch to Bahrain, for whom she set a new Bahraini record in the 400m Hurdles in Qatar on May 9th, has been reverberating around the Athletics world…




5 Responses to “Nigerian Athletes competing well EVERYWHERE…EXCEPT NIGERIA!!!”

  1. BSA May 21, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    Our dear nation has failed and has failed greatly.
    Which sector is availed of this failure? Education, communication, health,
    Roads are bad, no security, no fuel…. lnfact, what is working in Nigeria?
    This athletes would switch nationality since nobody cares for the progress
    Of the country in that area. Only what comes to individual pockets matters.


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