Journalists See Hope For Team Nigeria Despite Winning No Medal At World Youth Championship
A sport journalist, Kayode Thomas on Tuesday said the reason team Nigeria did not win any medal from the just concluded 8th IAAF World Youth Championship in Donetsk, Ukraine was because most of the athletes had to shuffle between schooling and training.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sports This Morning, Mr Thomas said though the team returned without a medal, he is hopeful that the Nigerian athletes will perform better in future competitions.
He said, “If you look at the team, it was a bunch of school children who were going out for the first time. And most of the time because we don’t have a marriage of sports and education in Nigeria, they had to go to school, write exams and all that. So in so many ways their trainings were disrupted.
“But if you also look at the team, I wouldn’t say we failed totally because some of the athlete made it to the finals some ran new personal best.
“I could just liken this team to the Brazilian team that came for the 2009 U-17 World Cup. They were here they didn’t win anything but a few years later you can see one of them leading Brazil to beat Spain in the finals of the Confederation Cup. So I have a lot of hope in this team that by the time they are out of secondary schools and they have proper training they could be one of the best in the world.
Another journalist, Yemi Olusi expressed hope that a Nigerian finalist for the boys 200m, Ejowokoghene Divine Oduduru can win medals for the country in future competitions.
She said Oduduru, who returned a time of 21.37 seconds, set a record for even the senior athletes.
“It shows that there is some hope for up and coming athletes and that they could fill in when the old athletes retire,” she said.
Oduduru’s sixth place finish moved Team Nigeria from 39th position to 30th. The country finished 5ft in the girls 400m and 8th in the boys’ 110m hurdles.
Though no medals were won, Team Nigeria was able to reach four finals as against the three finals at the last edition in France. Top athletics countries such as Bahamas, Colombia, Belgium, Canada and The Netherlands occupied between the 43rd and 52nd positions.
Jamaica with six gold and two bronze medals was top on the table, followed by Kenya (four gold, three silver and four bronze.) Australia and Ethiopia had three gold medals, while the United States finished with two gold medals. Hosts, Ukraine had one gold.