Fastest Nigerian female sprinter and Commonwealth super woman, Blessing Okagbare-Ogbotoguonor, may not feature for Nigeria at the forthcoming Rio 2016 Olympics as the National Sports Commission and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria placed a ban on the sprint queen.
The sports managers according to reports are not pleased with the manner Blessing appeared at the Zurich Diamond League last Thursday, few days after she refused to participate for Nigeria in the 200m event at the just concluded IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China.
Blessing was Nigeria’s medal hope but had a woeful performance at the 100m final where she took last out of 9 runners. 4 days later, the sprinter pulled out of the 200m claiming injury.
The injury claim became suspicious when Blessing took to her facebook page to lambast those who criticized her poor outing at the 100m final. She claimed that she does not owe anyone explanation as she is a self-made athlete and accused Nigeria’s sports managers of not being interested in her career.
The shocker came on Thursday when Blessing Okagbare announced she will not be part of the Team Nigeria for the 11th All African Games in Congo which NSC and AFN find questionable.
Sports journalists have been critical of Blessing’s attitude to National interest seeing she has no fair competition. They said that not athlete can attempt to hold a countries like Jamaica and US to ransom because of the competitiveness of representing the country. Some of them had argued that Blessing is not the committed to Nigeria as much as she is to herself.
Maria Olatunji of Silverbird Sports Unit in a conversation with HOMELAND NEWS said the solution is to give equal opportunity to all sprinters in Nigeria. Her view is that the Athletics Federation of Nigeria should avoid any form of favouritism and if that is done, other athletes will be encouraged to give their best for the country.
Whether this will produce the desired result before the Olympics next year, is now strictly a matter of hope.