Adekuoroye laments corporate bodies’ apathy to other sports
World wrestling bronze medalist, Odunayo Adekuoroye is saddened by the ‘total neglect’ other sports, especially wrestling, have suffered in the hands of Nigeria’s corporate bodies, which support only football to the detriment of other sports.
Adekuoroye, a two-time World Wrestling Championship bronze medalist, told The Guardian yesterday that while football has enjoyed a great deal of support from the private sector, the other sports have been left to their own fate.
“I am yet to receive any accolade for my feat after winning a bronze medal at the World Wrestling Championship in Kazakhstan. With the bronze medal, I have qualified for the Olympics in Japan. What remains for me is to compete at different championships in readiness for the Olympics. I need to compete again with my conqueror in Kazakhstan at other championships to be able to stand a good chance of a medal.
“I need to compete well at different championships, but the private sector has not been forthcoming to assist us to be at these events.
“I think the government cannot do it all alone, just as they have been helping the game of football,” she said, adding that she wouldn’t blame the athletes, who are either planning or have abandoned the country to be citizens of other countries.
“At the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, a Nigerian, formerly Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu, now Salwa Eid Naser, won a gold medal for her new country, Bahrain. She didn’t only win gold, but she also ran 48.14 seconds, the third fastest time in the history of the women’s race in 400 metres.
“If she had remained a Nigerian, I doubt if she would have won a medal at the recent Africa Games in Morocco. This is what we are talking about and nobody seems to care.
“The Wrestling Federation president has done his own part but we have left completely on our own by the private bodies.
“Recently, I saw 2Baba in a billboard in Lagos wearing wrestlers’ singlet to advertise a bottled water. Why should that be? We have Aliko Dangote, who produces cement, so you ask yourself why can’t he use weightlifters, who are champions to advertise cement to indicate how strong his cement is. But we always get it wrong in this country and I am sad about it.”
“Is it after we achieved success that the so called private bodies would come around like bees to start making pledges? Footballers are promised $20,000 each before each tournament despite wonderful treatment from the corporate bodies. It is high time we looked into these before we start looking elsewhere for greener pastures,” she said.