Current Fastest Man in Nigeria Divine Oduduru Wednesday condemned poor treatment of athletes in the country especially non footballers hinting of a possible showdown with government ahead of 2019 African Games in Rabat Morocco.
Oduduru who only recently ran 100m in 9.94s at the Michael Johnson Invitational to emerge Nigeria and Africa’s fastest man opined that only footballers get reasonable recognition for representing the country while other athletes are treated more like second class citizen.
Treating athletes who win laurel for Nigerian equally he said will not only encourage more to be interested in representing the country but will reduce of the feeling of disappointment among athletes in other disciplines other than football.
“Only footballers are appreciated in the country and that is very bad. We are all athletes and all should be treated equally. In other sports if they manage to give you $5,000 they expect you to be very excited, we have passed that stage. Athletes need funds to train well and ought to be appreciated. Those who win medals should be well appreciated and not given peanuts as if they are being done a favour,”he said in a chat with TVC.
Oduduru’s outburst is coming at time when many are calling for more support for other sports even as some of the athletes have described themselves as “orphans fighting on their own to make the best of their profession and passion without expecting any appreciation from a country where all the budgets in sports goes to football”
This year’s African Games will take place from August 16-30 in Rabat Morocco with the Nation banking on the likes Oduduru, Blessing Okagbare among others to rise to the occasion. Nigeria finished second at the last Games in Congo with 144 Medals, comprising 47 Gold, 55 Silver and 42 Bronze.
Nigeria will be competing in 23 sports in Rabat viz athletics, football, table tennis, tennis, wrestling, weightlifting, badminton, judo, beach volleyball, boxing, canoe-kayak, chess, cycling, gymnastics, golf, handball. Others are karate, rowing, shooting, swimming, basketball, handball and taekwondo.