The 2022 Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham has been a tournament with more highs and lows for Nigeria.
The Nigerian contingent finished 7th on the final medals tally with 12 Gold, 9 Silver, and 14 Bronze medals to make up a total of 35 medals won.
Birmingham 2022 was Nigeria’s 14th Commonwealth Games as Nigeria has participated since 1950, a decade before her independence from Britain. Nigerian athletes at the games delivered the country’s highest Gold medal tally in history despite the many odds against them. The athletes’ victories brought a lot of smiles to the faces of many Nigerians, like virtual bet surprises.
For a sports-loving nation, the performances of these athletes offered hope to many Nigerians who are dealing with many challenges. Above all, this tournament is a big learning opportunity for Nigeria to steer her sports in the right direction for the future. How Nigeria uses the lessons gathered from this tournament will determine her future sporting success or failure.
How can Nigeria build on the success of her Athletes?
The success of Nigerian athletes at the Commonwealth Games has diverted the attention of sports lovers from the lingering problems plaguing sports in the country. For many sports administrators and government officials, the success of these athletes serves as a respite even though there are loads of questions concerning their shoddy handling of these athletes.
Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, and others have themselves to thank for their brilliant performance at the Commonwealth games. Nigeria barely contributed to the success of these athletes, and it is even more ironic that politicians are trying to use their success to score cheap political points.
Nigerian sports hold loads of potential, but over time, those in charge have failed to provide resources that will equip the athletes to compete at the highest level. Many Nigerian athletes have had to seek external help for their training. They did most preparations for these games with the expenses drawn out of their pockets.
Suppose these practices are not nipped in the bud immediately, then, Nigerian sports may be plunged into an abyss without escape. Administrators, coaches, and government offices in charge of sports must drop all politicking and focus on providing resources for athletes to thrive and compete at the highest level.
Nigeria’s success at the Commonwealth Games does not depict the right state of things with Nigerian sports. Everybody involved must come together immediately and work in earnest before the next tournament.