AFN blames distractions for male athletes’ poor performance at Commonwealth Games, other events
Yahoo Yahoo phenomenon serious issue, says Porbeni
The Head Coach of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Seigha Porbeni, has blamed the dwindling performance of the nation’s men in recent international competitions, including the World Athletics Championships at Oregon, U.S. and the just concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, on stakeholders’ refusal to deploy science in athletes’ identification, growth and development.
Team Nigeria made big headlines at Oregon through the efforts of world record breaker, hurdler Tobi Amusan, and long jumper, Ese Brume, who won gold and silver respectively on the last day of the competition after all the male athletes had fizzled out.
And at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which ended on August 8, Nigeria recorded her best performance ever, winning 12 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze medals. Women won all the gold medals.
In his article entitled ‘Dwindling Performance of Nigeria’s male track and field stars,’ sent to The Guardian at the weekend, Porbeni said the country is blessed with the Africa Athletics Development Center (AADC), established by the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), with Prof. Ken Anugweje as the Director, adding, however, that Nigerians don’t make use of it.
“Sadly, only the University of Port Harcourt and Delta State utilise this scientific training centre and the results speak for itself. Athletes like Favour Ofili, Grace Nwokocha, Praise Idamadudu, Divine Oduduru, Raymond Ekevwho, Favour Ashe and Godson Brume, among others, are some products of the centre, with more in their developmental stages.
“Competition is keener and have always been keen among the male gender to which failure of upscaling the management system has now manifested among Nigerian males not only in track and field events, but also across all sports.
“Moving along with the prevailing economic and social changes in the country today, the male child is more affected or targetted. The introduction of online trading or the Yahoo Yahoo phenomenon has provided a serious distraction to our male athletes,” Porbeni stated.
For Nigeria’s male athletes to meet the challenges posed by their female counterparts, Porbeni said: “There is urgent need for us to have an understanding of Sustainable Sports Development (SSD), particularly the aspects of athlete’s discovery, nurturing, growth and development.
“Ensure the application of science in athletes identification growth and development for the podium, recognise the role of DNA haplotype, give grassroots sports pride of place to ensure a bottom up approach in athletes identification growth and development and stage more grassroots competitions to support the present National Youth Games and at the same time, expand both the sports and events.”
A former Director of Sports in Delta State, he said Nigeria needed to change the paradigm in the matter of training requirements.
“Without prejudice, trainable athletes in the sprints, jumps are mostly found in the Southwest and parts of the South South that used to be Mid West, namely Edo and Delta. Inclusive of states like Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, and cosmopolitan Lagos. There abound good male athletes with very high potential of becoming champions in no distance period and particularly for Paris 2024 Olympics Games.”
“Don’t forget that trainability in the sprints and jumps is just 30 percent, as the major factor is naturally endowed with the fast twitch muscle fibers. Others are proper nutrition, athlete’s psychological build up and the psyco-social milieu of the athlete’s environment. I will recommend that the athletes’ welfare and challenge be revisited with a view to commencing same for the good of track and field.”