You’re exposing our athletes to medical issues, Porbeni tells marathon organisers
Former Nigeria hurdler, sprinter and jumper, Seigha Porbeni, has revealed that a majority of the nation’s track and field stars face the risk of serious medical issues, if the government fails to stop the current trend of turning Nigeria into a marathon organising nation.
“The truth is that we are only exposing our athletes to health problems because the marathon and half marathon races these days are too close to one another,” he told The Guardian.
Porbeni, who is currently the head coach of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), stated that the level of poverty in the country is beclouding the athletes’ good sense of reason. “We have to keep talking about it.
The huge sponsorship monies being wasted on marathon races in Nigeria could be channeled to the athletes in various zones in the country in building up towards a mega final just like the Diamond League.
“I call it waste because marathon races are not Nigeria’s area of strength. The organisers of marathon races in Nigeria are only providing the funds for the Kenyans, Ethiopians and Ugandans to prepare themselves for major championships like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and African Games, whereas, our area of strength (short sprints) are neglected.”
“When this fraud in marathon sponsorship started, I raised an alarm. The man behind this madness (name withheld) has never forgotten my confrontation.He fought me by using New York marathon in the U.S. that has never been won by any American as an example. He has forgotten that America has put in place a system that takes care of other sporting events, including the sprints. I even went further to suggest to him that the sponsorship could be directed towards the area of our strength, the sprints, jumps and hurdles.
He replied by saying World Athletics is more interested in mass participation. Today, every corner in Nigeria wants to have marathon races because of what the organisers stand to gain. No one thinks about the country.”