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Porbeni urges Nigerian male athletes to wake up, praises women stars

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Former Nigerian jumper, hurdler and sprinter, Coach Seigha Porbeni

Former Nigerian jumper, hurdler and sprinter, Coach Seigha Porbeni says women athletes, who represented the country at the recently concluded African Games in Morocco, deserve praise for their effort, which resulted to the second position placed by Team Nigeria on the overall medals table.

But Porbeni, an all-rounder in his days, when he competed in seven different sports, is unhappy with the male athletes for their not-too-impressive performances in track and field.

Porbeni was Nigeria’s first decathlete, who after training as a coach, introduced combined events into the nation’s athletics.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Porbeni, a former Director of Sports in Delta State, stated that although Nigeria’s ‘preparatory methodology’ for the African Games was faulty, the female stars were able to give a good account of themselves.

“I am happy Nigeria is beginning to make a bold statement in the throws,” Porbeni said. “Our athletes won in the javelin women and shot put men. But I must say that our male athletes need to do more. At the moment, Nigeria is weak in male hurdles event, but we are strong in the female.

“I praise Tobi Amusan for her superlative performance in the 100m hurdles. She even set a new record and lowered Gloria Alozie’s record. Nigeria is also strong in the women long jump event, and I salute Ese Brume for keeping the flag flying,” he stated.

Before the African Games in Morocco, Brume jumped 7.05m to emerge as one of three Nigerians ever to scale over 7m.

And in Morocco, Brume, who has won four senior African titles and one Commonwealth Games title, grabbed the gold medal in the long jump with a jump of 6.69m and narrowly missed the opportunity to equal Janice Joseph’s African Games Record of 6.70m.

Porbeni is sad over Nigeria’s failure to win a gold medal in the women’s 100m event. “Nigeria used to be the lord in the sprint events both 100m and 200m for male and female, and it was so disappointing to see our athletes losing those titles in Morocco.

But I won’t put the entire blame on the athletes because they did not get good preparations for the Games. We were supposed to have four Golden League events before the African Games, but the AFN could only hold one and the rest were postponed. The other event we had was the youth programme at Ilaro, Ogun State to prepare the U-20 team for CAA Championship in Abidjan,” Porbeni stated.


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