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NGF to take Olympics slot fight to IGF

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Nigeria’s Andrew Oche Odoh and Gboyega Oyebanji will not play at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games unless the IGF changed the qualification criteria.

Nigeria’s Andrew Oche Odoh and Gboyega Oyebanji will not play at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games unless the IGF changed the qualification criteria.

The Nigeria Golf Federation (NFF) plans to take its fight for ‘fair’ allocation of Olympics slots to the International Golf Federation (IGF) if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not change the qualifying standard for the golf event of the games.

Nigeria has been championing Africa’s quest for fair representation when golf debuts at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. But the body is being frustrated by the IOC’s insistence on using the world rankings to decide who plays at the Rio 2016 Games.

In both the men’s and women’s event, the top 15 world-ranked players will be eligible for the Olympic Games, regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players will be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two available players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15 to a maximum number of 60 players in total in the competition.

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Going by this rule, Nigeria and other African countries, with the exception of South Africa, will not feature in the Olympics. When the rules were announced by the IOC, president of the Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF), Nazifi Mohammed, had criticised it, saying, “it is part of the apartheid in golf because it is seen as a white man’s game, but we in Africa are fighting to ensure that every country gets equal opportunity. Golf must be played like any other sport.”

Since Mohammed launched the capign for even distribution of the golf slots, nothing concrete has come out of it, prompting the NGF to recourse to the IGF to redress the issue.There are 21 medals on offer at the Olympics.

NGF Secretary General, Taiwo Oriss, told The Guardian yesterday that the federation was disappointed at the disposition of the IGF, IOC and the Nigeria Olympics Committee (IOC) on the issue.

“As it is, Nigeria has no chance of fielding a player at the event when some countries are allowed more than two players in Rio. It is not fair. We feel cheated.

“We are helpless now, but if at the end of the day we fail to correct that anomaly, we will take the case to the IGF biennial conference in September so that things would be done right before the 2020 games.

“We believe the IGF will be in a better position to convince the IOC to change the qualifying standard,” he said.


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