WHEN in a battlefront, one either advances to conquer or retreats to come back better equipped for victory. That was the situation faced by Team Nigeria on Thursday when the contingent to the on-going African Athletics Championship in Porto Novo, Benin Republic, was forced to early bed after losing the gold medals in the 100m events (both male and female), as well as the 100m hurdles (women) and long jump (men). Many in the team saw the poor outing as a ‘temporary setback.’
“These things do happen sometimes, but it is not enough to say that we have failed. No, I don’t think so,” a board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Jide Josiah, told The Guardian shortly after the end of proceedings on the second day of the competition.
Though sad, Josiah, who is a member of the AFN’s Technical Committee, was of the opinion that the sad incident on Thursday, where the duo of Blessing Okagbare and Gloria Asumnu, who bore the country’s medals hopes in the women 100m race, lost the gold to a Gabonese athlete, could happen to any country.
He explained: “We saw some of these signs even on Wednesday evening when Okagbare suddenly took ill. We had to battle all night to put her in the right frame of mind to compete in the 100m final on Thursday. This is not a ‘hear say’ because everybody saw it and we thank God she was able to overcome it.
“As for the women’s 100m hurdles, it was an unfortunate scenario because our athlete (Seun Adigun) took off very well and was leading comfortably before she hit her legs on the hurdle with just few metres to the finish line. That is why I said that what happened today (Thursday) could happen to any country. We are not blaming the