Omatseye Nesiama, an International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) licensed manager on Friday said that the dwindling state of athletics could be attributed to lack of commitment by administrators.
Nesiama, who was reacting to team Nigeria’s performance at the ongoing World Championships in Doha, said he believed that factors like funds and travel difficulties affected the team.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that most administrators were skeptical to drop funds to allow athletes participate in championships, as monies given in the past were not be returned.
Nesiama said that such development reduced the zeal of administrators to want to work because they were afraid that their monies would not be re-inbursed.
He said that during his tenure as the Technical Director, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), he raised N15 million to ensure athletics qualified for the 2015 African Games and 2016 Olympics.
“I alongside my family committed the sum of N15 million for the purchase of tickets to qualify our team for the 2015 African Games and 2016 Olympics.
“Solomon Dalung who was the Minister at that time scrutinised everything and magnanimously approved the sum to be paid. Till date, a kobo hasn’t been paid.
“With this kind of development, do you think sports administrators will be willing to commit and make such sacrifices after knowing about what we faced?
“That is why I have taken a back seat,” he said.
Nesiama, a retired Commodore, however, appealed to the new Sports Minister, Sunday Dare to call a stakeholders meeting to ascertain where the problems emanate from.
“I want to call on the new sports minister to call a stakeholders meeting on some of these issues to know where the problem is coming from.
“Alot of people have made sacrifices in the past, they have been pushed away, the new ones on board know about what happened in the past and they find it difficult to make that commitment.
“That is why we have found ourselves the way we are today and I hope that we will be able to get off the blocks,” he said.
He also said that their efforts of raising such monies during their tenure yielded positively by putting the country on the continental and world map.
“Our effort yielded some of the best results we’ve achieved at the World and African level. Winning the African Youth, Junior and Senior Championships at the same time.
“A feat no other country has achieved, winning a gold medal at the World Relays in the Bahamas, silver and bronze medals at the World Championships in Moscow.
“Developmental programmes brought up the likes of Divine Oduduru, Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, Usheoritse Itsekiri, Raymond Ekevwo and their likes,” he said.
He also proposed that the AFN’s Technical Committee be well constituted, become more effective to ensure checks and balances, especially for processes leading to major competitions to avoid what happened in Doha.
“The way forward to ensure that we don’t get disqualified in subsequent world championships is for the technical committee to be effective, well constituted and provide checks and balances.
“I will talk from my experience, to me, the assembling of the team to the world championships was a bit faulty, there was no clear cut plan.
“They were not aware of the number of athletes that will be able to make it until the last minute, probably due to miscellaneous reasons.
“Based on that, they couldn’t meet the team to effectively decide on the entries,” he said.
Nesiama is also a member of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Technical and Competitions Commission. (NAN)