Global Upfront Newspapers
Breaking News Cover News Sports

Team Nigeria ends Tokyo Olympic Games with scandals, disappointments, near misses, after another loss in women’s wrestling

The curtains will officially fall on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games on Sunday, but the unsuccessful outing of the Women’s 4x100m relay team on Thursday and Adijat Idris losst 0-10 to Ukraine’s Oksana Livach on Friday in the women’s freestyle 50kg event of the wrestling competition effectively brought to an end Team Nigeria’s participation at the games.

The 19-year-old Idris was completely overwhelmed in the round of 16 match at the Makuhari Messe Hall in Tokyo, losing due to technical superiority.

Team Nigeria only managed to avoid a repeat of the sporting disaster witnessed at the London 2012 Olympics when Nigerian failed to win a single medal.

Nigeria’s saving grace in the Tokyo Games were Blessing Oborodudu and Ese Brume who won silver in Women’s 68k wrestling event and bronze in women’s long jump respectively. These two medals came after days of embarrassing defeats inflicted by opponents on Team Nigeria athletes.

Consequently, even as many may look at the two medals as drops of rain in an ocean, it was a huge relief for the Nigerian delegation to Tokyo.

Before the games, the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare had raised hopes of millions of Nigerians with the assurance that Team Nigeria would surpass the achievement recorded at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

However, at the games proper, it was a free fall for Team Nigeria, on and off the field. First, Nigeria was the only contingent wearing different attires at the Tokyo Games. In fact, several videos and pictures showed that both athletes and officials were wearing different attires and sportswear brands, a different cry from other countries who arrived in Japan at the same time as Nigeria and were however uniformly kitted.

A picture shared by the team after the visit of the Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Abubakar Moriki, to the team’s camp, showed many of the athletes and officials in different attire, with one of the officials in the picture wearing an Arsenal jersey. Other videos shared by Nigerian athletes in Japan also showed them in different sportswears, like Nike and Adidas.

This came to the fore when Nigeria’s failed shot put medal hopeful, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, washed the lone jersey issued to him by Nigeria’s Ministry of Youths and Sports ahead of his final game at the Olympics.

The TikTok video, uploaded by the athlete on his Instagram page, @thechuksay, before he deleted it due to pressure from the Ministry, had the caption: “When you made the Olympic Finals, but you only have one jersey.”

This drew social media rant which described the video as the “latest embarrassment from Team Nigeria Tokyo2020 drama series.”

The one jersey per athlete issue came up because of the rejection of the jerseys supplied by PUMA to the Nigerian contingent by the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development who insisted that the contingent would not wear the German sports wear clothes because of a leadership tussle between the AFN board lead by Ibrahim Gusau and another faction championed by the Minister, Sunday Dare.

Several efforts made to supply the athletes the PUMA kits, including shipping bags of the kits with 40 items each to Tokyo through the Nigerian Embassy in Japan, were allegedly frustrated on the directives of the Minister.

And because of this, the Ministry insisted that Team Nigeria athletes were not going to use Puma kits at the ongoing Olympic Games despite the Gusau group sending them to Tokyo.

This crisis came to a head when the German company announced the termination of the four-year deal with the AFN in a letter dated August 4, which was signed by PUMA’s Director Manuel Edlheimb.

PUMA wrote the contract termination letter few hours after a trending video showed Nigeria’s shot put hopeful, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, washing his jersey ahead of his final game at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Now, the German sportswear manufacturer is set to sue Nigeria’s Ministry of Sports and Youth Development and Athletes Federation of Nigeria (AFN) for breach of contract.

Earlier, 10 athletes from Nigeria were banned from participating in the Games even before they started.  Out of the 18 athletes banned in the current Olympics, 10 were from Nigeria.

They had to take to the streets of Tokyo in protest against the official shoddiness that led to their fate. Obviously, the 10 Nigerian athletes were disqualified for not meeting up with test requirements due to “officials’ negligence.”

The athletes were walking in protest in the streets of Tokyo carrying placards which read: ‘All We Wanted To Do Was Compete,’ ‘Why Should We Suffer Because of Someone’s Else Negligence,’ and ‘We Are Not Just Alternates But Potential Medalists.’

The athletes were declared ineligible to contest in the Tokyo Olympics by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) after reportedly failing the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15.

According to AIU, “under the framework of Rule 15 governing National Federation Anti-Doping Obligations, which came into force in January 2019, National Federations are accountable for ensuring appropriate anti-doping measures are in place in their respective jurisdictions.

“Among other things, the Rule sets out minimum requirements for testing on the national teams of ‘Category A’ federations deemed to have the highest doping risk and considered as a threat to the overall integrity of the sport.

“The key requirement in Rule 15 is that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than 3 weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event. Only then do they become eligible to represent their national team at the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games.”

And after their ban, the athletes clashed with the officials of the Ministry who wanted to find reasons to appropriate the Samsung 5G phones allocated freely to each of the athletes.

Nigeria’s Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare, on penultimate Friday apologised to the 10 Nigerian athletes that were disqualified, saying in a statement “Ministry Wades to stem crisis,” that he was going to investigate the circumstances surrounding their disqualification.

On field, most of the medal hopefuls failed to rise to the occasion. Even when the likes of Esther Toko, Uche Eke, Jide Omotayo, Godwin Olufua, Anuoluwapo Opeyori, Dorcas Adesokan and others, kept stumbling out of the games, expectations were that athletes like Aruna Quadri, Odunayo Adekuoroye, Blessing Okagbare, Enoch Adegoke and Tobi Amusan and a host of others would wipe away the shame.

Unfortunately, when it was their turn to salvage what was becoming an embarrassing situation, it was the same old story as some were disqualified while others performed abysmally.

In the end, Nigeria’s participation was filled with mixed feelings after a performance that was full of disappointments than joyful moments.

Even though Team Nigeria, with 25 male and 30 female athletes, would be returning home with two medals, one silver and one bronze, this year’s Olympics will be remembered more for series of misses, disappointments and scandals.

Advertize With Us

See Also

Anger in IDPs camps as Borno State govt plans reintegration of over 1,000 ‘repentant’ Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists

Global Upfront

Military kills 8 terrorists in Boko Haram/ISWAP “futile attempt to scuttle resettlement of Kukawa community,” Northeast region

Global Upfront

Terrorists Gun Down 7-year-old Boy In Abuja, Abduct 10 Residents

Global Upfront

Woman poisons her husband to death, chops off his manhood

Global Upfront

Woman who allegedly tortured her maid to death, hang her as apparent suicide, arrested by Police, along with her husband

Global Upfront

Tinubu Engages Governor Buni To Appease APC Members Aggrieved Over Presidential Campaign Council

Global Upfront

London Court releases $200m cash deposit guarantee over P&ID fraud case back to Nigeria, Malami celebrates

Global Upfront

Buhari Deeply Saddened By 31 Deaths In Port Harcourt Church Food Distribution Stampede

Global Upfront

FG says EndSARS Lekki Tollgate Shootings is “massacre without bodies”

Global Upfront

Peter Obi Says Corruption In Nigeria A Big Elephant In The Room, Wants NNPC Officials Resign For Incompetence

Global Upfront

This website uses Cookies to improve User experience. We assume this is OK...If not, please opt-out! Accept Read More