National long jump coach, Yusuf Ali, on Saturday blamed Nigeria’s poor outing at the ongoing London 2012 Olympic Games, which ends on Sunday, on frequent changes in the leadership of sports in the country.
Ali, a 1990 Commonwealth Games long jump gold medallist, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone from London that such changes had also led to changes in policies for sports development.
“Changes in the leadership of sports as far as I am concerned, affects sports development because it affects everything that concerns sports,” he said.
Ali said the current Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, had a vision that could take sports to a high level, if allowed to do his job.
“The minister has a direction to take sports to a greater height. I say this with all sincerity, he has the vision but he should be supported and left alone to do his job,’’ Ali said.
NAN reports that the sports minister was appointed only two months to the Olympic Games.
Ali said that though Nigerian sprinters at the Games may, not have taken any medal, they did well, to the best of their abilities.
“To me, the athletes did their best, especially the girls. Ajoke Odumosu broke the national record, Okagbare and others did their best,’’ said the Algeria 1988 African Championships gold medallist.
“World sprinters and athletes have stepped up their performances. Before, 10 seconds was the world record, but now it is 9 seconds.
“So, Nigerian sprinters should also step up their performances because the world is moving very fast. The performance at this year’s Olympics will be a wake-up call for Nigeria to begin to prepare early for the next Games,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the country has not won any medal but hopes to get one from the women’s 4×400 metres and a bronze medal from the taekwondo event where Chika Chukwumerije is expected to fight on Saturday night.
Chukwumerije lost the fight in the gold medal stage and can only now fight for the bronze medal.