By Femi Adefioye, LagosÂ
President, Nigeria Weight Lifting Federation, Mr. Chibudom Nwuche has stated that Nigeria is going to next monthâ€™s Olympic Games in Brazil with only one weight lifter.Nwuche told reporters in Abuja in Sunday that though it is unfortunate that the country is going to Rio with only one weight lifter, it should be blamed squarely on lack of preparation, noting that that the athletes did not participate in championships to prepare them for the games.
The situation, he said, affected the number of athletes the country is sending to Brazil for the world sports fiesta.
While noting that funding is the issue, he insisted that the country must elect to fund sports very well, adding that the private sector has not taken interest in funding sports.
â€œSports uplifts and brings out nationâ€™s prominence, they bring glory to a nation. We must fund preparations. Without funding we will fail. We must fund sports to succeed.â€
He also urged government to limit the number of non athlete, key investment in favour of coaches and athletes as well as give funds directly to federations.
Nwuche who also urged government to reduce the red tape in release of funds said that funds meant for the ministry of sports should be separated.
â€œI am hopeful that we shall get medals in Rio. I am sure that our athletes shall fly our flag very well. I am sure that with government working to reposition sports, we shall do well and prepare for next time. It is unfortunate that we going to Rio with only one Weight Lifter but we shall prepare for next time,â€ he said.
He added, â€œTo be sincere, I believe that we are not well prepared for the Rio Olympic because using weightlifting as example, in weightlifting, the athletes have not had the opportunities of taking part in various competitions that can qualify them for the Olympics. So, we are fielding only one weightlifter and this is to decide between two females who would go. That is because the Federation do not have the funds required to participate in championships over these past four years. So, it has affected the qualification pattern, it has affected the number of our participation in the Olympics. But I believe that with the athletes that we are going to send, even though it is one, they would do very well. Other Federations also have the same problem-the issue of funding. We must begin to fun sports better.â€Â