N2.3 Bn Budget wasted, as the Nigerian Olympics Team Returns From London 2012 Olympics with no medal
The London 2012 Olympic Games ended on Sunday with Team Nigeria returning home with no medal, raising questions over the N2.3bn budgeted for the Nigeria’s participation at the Games.
It was an unusual record compared to the nation’s achievements at the Games in the past two decades. It was one that reminded Nigerians of the woeful performance recorded when Nigerian did not win any medal at Seoul ’88.
In London, Nigeria’s hopes for medals were shouldered by the athletics team, where Blessing Okagbare was regarded as a match for Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and Carmelita Jeter of the US in the women’s 100m. But Okagbare finished the final in the 8th position, blaming her poor performance on injury despite competing till the end.
In the long jump, she had an equally bad outing, failing to qualify for the final after finishing in the 17th position. In the women’s 4x100m relay race, Christy Udoh, Gloria Asumnu, Oludamola Osayomi and Okagbare did put up a fight but the 42.64 time recorded by them was only good as their season’s best with Nigeria ending in the 4th position.
Ajoke Odumosu also raised the nation’s hopes when she reached the 400m hurdles but she came last to end all medal expectations from the race.
The basketball team reached the Olympics for the first time with much expectation, especially after beating Greece and Lithuania, respectively ranked 4th and 5th in the world, during the qualifiers.
They even gladdened the nation’s heart with a win over African champions, Tunisia, in their first match at the Olympics, but defeats by to Lithuania, Argentina, US and France ended first basketball participation at the Games with one win.
There was disappointment after the table tennis team was ousted a day after the opening ceremony but there were last minute hopes that later produced no medals for Nigeria.
Team Nigeria’s Captain Chika Chukwumerije, who won a bronze at the last Olympic Games in Beijing, China was seen as a medal prospect in taekwondo because of the preparation he had before the Games. He did not begin his contest until a day before the closing ceremony, but in his only fight, he lost to Cuban opponent, Robelis Despaigne, in the men’s+80kg class.
A few hours after his defeat on Saturday, another hope was dashed when the women’s 4x400m relay team was disqualified in the final. It was however not the final straw as hopes of any type of medal rested on Sinivie Boltic, a male wrestler in the freestyle 96kgcategory. He drew bye into the quarterfinals where he met Republic of Moldova’s Ceban Nicolai on Sunday. But like other athletes that represented Nigeria, Boltic did not get to the medal zone, ending all hopes for Nigeria.