Budapest fall-out: We Weren’t Prepared For Medals -Okowa

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Tonobok Okowa, President Athletics Federation of Nigeria has rued Nigeria’s ‘barren’ outing at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Nigerians were expectant after the successful outing of the team at the 2021 championships in Oregon, USA, but in Budapest, the cookies crumbled for Team Nigeria and Okowa said it was down to lack of adequate preparations due to lack of funds.

“We weren’t prepared for Budapest, that is the truth,” said the AFN boss. “There were no funds to camp and we did not monitor our athletes to know how they were doing, everybody just came to Budapest and that was it.

But I am consoled that at least we were in some finals.” Okowa disclosed that he had already given up on world record holder Tobi Amusan following her suspension by the World Athletics Athletes Integrity Unit, but was happy when she made it to Europe for the championships. “We were already in Budapest when Tobi was cleared.

And quite frankly she has not been training following the suspension we had to bring in a psychologist to help her to be mentally prepared. And I must tell you that she did well getting to the final. It was a miracle she reached the final.

“Tobi’s coach left her and went to join the Jamaicans who were in camp for two weeks and then arrived in Budapest ten good days ahead to warm up. That was a luxury we couldn’t afford and how then do we compete with the Jamaicans?”

However, Okowa said that the AFN is looking ahead to next year’s Olympics and the Africa Games with the hope that the country will return to winning ways. “It’s good we have a sports minister now. And we hope and pray that he gives us a listening ear so that we can have funds to prepare our athletes ahead of competitions.

“We have athletes who can get to the podium, but if we don’t prepare them how do they compete with the others from other countries who are well funded and prepared? “We will adequately be prepared for the Olympics and of course the African Games next year and we are going to ensure our team comes out tops.”