Team Nigeria Struggles In Mauritius
The championship will end today, but as at the end of competitions yesterday afternoon, Team Nigeria had just a gold medal in its kitty.
Two years ago, Nigerian athletes overran all opponents to top the medals table in the maiden edition of the championship held in Warri, Delta State.
But Nigeria nearly missed participation in this year’s edition in Mauritius, following ‘serious’ financial challenge. Apart from arriving late at the venue, the team was forced to cut down the number of athletes from 27 to 12. Only three officials eventually made the trip, instead of eight.
One of the officials who spoke with The Guardian from Mauritius yesterday said that Nigeria captured a gold medal in the girls’ medley event.
“We won the gold medal in the girls’ medley event, but we missed the opportunity in both the male and female long jump. We got two silver medals in those events, but we are in finals in virtually all other events scheduled for tomorrow (today),” she said.
South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia were leading on the medals table yesterday, but Team Nigeria officials were still optimistic yesterday that anything can still happen in today’s final.
It will be recalled that the President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba, and Technical Director, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama had to plead with organisers of the championship in Mauritius to give the Nigerian contingent 24 hours of grace to enable them arrive on the day of the opening ceremony.
The championship in Mauritius is part of Nigeria’s qualification for various international championships lined up for the year, including the All African Games.