By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Ace comedian and actor Okechukwu Onyegbulem, better known as Okey Bakassi, has decried the poor performances of Nigeria’s athletes in the 2017 World Athletics Championship in London, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Championship ends today (Sunday, 13 August 2017) with Nigeria failing to win medals at the 16th edition so far as the women’s 4×400 relay team remain the country’s only medal hope.
Ahead of the race billed to hold at 8.55pm Nigerian time on Sunday night, Okey Bakassi whose daughter, Chidera, is an up-and-coming athlete in Canada spoke with Completesportsnigeria.com on his thoughts.
“I have always said that poor funding and talent management will continue to hinder Nigeria from doing well at major championships like the World Athletics Championship and Olympics,” Bakassi told Completesportsnigeria.com.
“Advanced countries start early and remain consistent and focused. That is not the case here in Nigeria and it’s regrettable despite the talents we have in this country.
“Most of the athletes that have won medals in London had started their preparations long time ago but in Nigeria the athletes started few weeks ago. We cannot move forward like that.”
Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor was Nigeria’s biggest medal hope in the individual events but failed to win a medal in the long jump won by USA’s Brittney Reece.
Okagbare had crashed out of the 100 metres event, finishing fourth in her semi-final race with a time of 11.09secs.
Tobiloba Amusan, another Nigerian medal prospect, also failed to reach the 100m women’s hurdles final.
Speaking about his daughter’s chances of representing Nigeria and not Canada, where she was born, in future athletics tournaments, Bakassi said: “I want her to represent Nigeria because she’s Nigerian but things have to be in place, the conditions have to improve.
“Chidera is talented and I have no doubt that she will be one of the best there is from Nigeria. I’m proud of her.”