Nigeria At Gold Coast Commonwealth Games: The Good, Bad And Ugly Sides

 

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games has come and gone with team Nigeria finishing 9 on the table with 9 Gold, 9 Silver and 6 Bronze medals from 10 Sports in all. In this critical analysis, Sport Intelligence (www.sportintelligencemag.com) looks at a preview of the general performance of the team and the brand name Nigeria.

THE GOOD

Winning With Less Support

It was indeed very good and excellent that our athletes did not abandon their nation’s colour at the Gold Coast even when the nation left them in the cold. The fact that we won 36 medals from 10 Sport in all was clear indications that we could go on to achieve a better result if better preparations and support was adequately given to our athletes.

Better result would have been achieved if the ministry had put in more for development

Permit me to use this medium to state categorically that the result we got at the Gold Coast Commonwealth games was as a result of the self-motivation and the desire of the athletes to excel for themselves, not really because we have adequately prepared them to be successful, but because these athletes have decided to make names for themselves. This indeed is a virtue and its very good that such attitude is coming from our athletes.

In a nutshell, Nigerian athletes can go ahead to rule the world in Sport if adequately managed, as they have proved over and over that they have got what it takes to deliver in this area.

Nigerian Athletes And Officials Not Found Wanting

In the midst of the ugly incidents that characterized the Gold Coast where some African countries deviated from the purpose of their coming to Australia and eventually did otherwise, Nigerian athletes were not found on the list. Every Nigerian athlete who came to the Games accomplished their main aim of coming, irrespective of the final result. It was good for Nigeria’s image and I say thumbs up to all.

More so, the issue of deportation of about 50 self-proclaimed Journalists from Ghana was not good for Africa’s image, but it also put security check on Nigerian Journalists and officials, but SWAN and officials from the various Sports Federations can beat their chest and boast that our nation’s name was not dragged to the mud, we lived up to expectations and we performed more of an educative an enlightenment role, teaching the world of the beauty of Sport in Nigeria.

THE BAD

Drop In Medal

In Glasgow 2014, Nigeria recorded 36 medals comprising of 11 gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze medals from 7 Sport, but eventually dropped to 24 medals which comprise of 9 gold, 9 silver and 6 bronze medals from 10 Sports. The outcome of this result clearly shows that we did not look at the mistakes of the 2014 performance to improve on, and that is really bad.

More so, if we had achieved more with seven Sport in 2014, it was logically expected that Nigeria should have achieved more following the increase by four Sport at the Gold Coast 2018. Hence, we have failed to learn from the past.

Poor In Development of Team Sport

Male Basket Ball team fails to go beyond the group stage

The poor performance of our Basketball team at the Gold Coast clearly shows that we have not done enough to develop team Sport, as Nigeria left the competition at the group stage. It also further confirms that the results which we got from individual athletes in individual Sports is as a result of their personal desire to be successful, and not because adequate preparations were done to prepare them for the challenges ahead.

Let me also add here that of the 24 medals we won at Gold Coast, 23 came from individual Sport, only the 4x100m race which could be likened to be team sport was the one that gave us bronze

“Win And Get Compensated-Syndrome”

This practice has eaten deep in the Nigerian Sport system and the Sport Ministry under Solomon Dalung also sustained it at the Gold Coast. Promising athletes cash-gifts without preparing them for the event, is like a father sending a child to school without buying books and writing materials for the child and yet promising to reward the child with gifts if the child comes first, second and third in class.

In a chat with one of the athletes who spoke on grounds of anonymity at the Gold Coast, the athletes revealed what he has put in to develop himself for the game were financially borne by him, yet the Sports Ministry eventually promise to reward him without showing interest in the developmental stage, this alone shows how naïve and inexperienced Sport is been serviced under the Sport Ministry.

Female Table Tennis Team Not Present

The Nigeria’s female table tennis team were not present at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, despite qualifying for the championship. There were heavy speculations at Gold Coast that the team had to be dropped because they were not sure of winning medals at the games.

Efforts made to reach the president of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation to confirm the story proved abortive, but it is important to not that if truly the reason for the team not being present was as a result of fear of not winning medals, then it is a very bad act. Experience was key, getting the experience would have been a boos for them.

THE UGLY

Quadri Aruna, Blessing Okagbare Cries Out

Okagbare Cries Out

Aruna Calls for adequate attention to table tennis and other sport

Two of Nigeria’s most accomplished athletes all had an opportunity to cry out again at the Gold Coast Commonwealth games. After winning the silver medal in men’s singles in table tennis, Quadri Aruna expressed displeasure over the negligence of tennis and other sports and hammered on the need to give attention to their development, he also Sport and stated that we must plan adequately if we really want to be successful.

On the other hand, after winning bronze medal in the women 4x400m Blessing Okagbare Nigeria’s flag-bearer at Gold Coast complained bitterly on her inability to take part in individual track and field event due to injury which has kept her out. The situation would have been better if the Sport Ministry where part of her programme, maybe they would have helped out, but she was on her own and at least managed to win bronze with her colleagues.

Nigerian Flag Missing At Men’s Double Final

This was one of the ugliest scenes witnessed at the Gold Coast, Sport Minister Solomon Dalung and his entourage were seated watching the finals of the men’s double against India, when the commentator called for the flag of the two nations to be raised high, only that of India was seen, Nigeria’s flag was conspicuously missing. Neither the minister nor anyone on his entourage could save the situation.

Dalung Missing In Men’s Single Final

Sport Minister Missing At Table Tennis Singles Men’s Finals

Quadri Aruna played the finals of the table tennis men’s single without the Sport Minister Solomon Dalung being present. There was no reason for his absence, the final was scheduled on the final day of the event, when no other Nigerian athlete was performing, but Sport Minister Solomon Dalung was conspicuously missing.

More so, there was no evidence of Dalung attending to any other matter that relates to the athletes as at the time the match was been played, there were rather high speculation of the Minister being on his way, but all was to no avail.

Unfortunately, it was confirmed that the Sports Minister and his entourage attended a party at Sofitel Hotel Brisbane Central the night before the men’s single final, leading to speculations that he (Sport Minister) was probably tired and could not make it to come and cheer Aruna up in the final. It was indeed shameful that the Sport Minister did not prioritize the purpose of his visit to Gold Coast.

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