Dreams shattered, 10 Nigerian athletes stage protest in Tokyo streets

Nigerian athletes protest in the streets in Tokyo. (Source: Premium Times Nigeria)

Tokyo: Dreams shattered, 10 Nigerian athletes took to the streets of Tokyo to protest against the negligent sports administrators on Friday after they were disqualified to take part at the ongoing Summer Games.

The incident came to light when the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) of the World Athletics released a statement banning 10 Nigerian athletes from taking part in the track and field events at the Tokyo Olympics under Rule 15.

Rule 15 states that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ nation needs to undergo a mandatory three out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than three weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event.

This didn’t go well among the Nigerian athletes who walked down the Tokyo streets with placards in their hands and also staged a protest against the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN). “Why should we suffer for someone’s negligence,” read one of the placards. “ALL WE WANTED TO DO IS TO COMPETE,” another read.

Supporting the disqualified athletes, Nigeria’s track and field queen Blessing Okagbare has come out in public to lash out at the officials responsible for this negligence. She also asked the sports administrators to step down from their respective positions.

“I have said it before and I will say it again. If you do not know the sport, not passionate about it/us (the athletes), then you have no business there as an administrator. The sport system in Nigeria is so flawed and we athletes are always at the receiving end of the damages,” she wrote on social media.
“They were busy fighting over power, exercising their pride over puma contract/ kits forgetting their major responsibility ‘THE ATHLETES’. It’s sad that this cycle keeps repeating its self and some people will come out to say I am arrogant for speaking my truth. It is my CAREER,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Sports Ministry in Nigeria tried to evade their negligence stating those affected are ‘alternate and foreign students athletes, whose tests did not meet with sample collection and analysis standards’.


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