Nigeria has failed to perform well in the Tokyo 2020 games, this is not expected from a country with 69 years experience in the Olympic games.
The first medal for team Nigeria was coincidentally in Tokyo in 1964, 3 editions since Nigeria’s first appearance at the games.
However, it took Chioma Ajunwa and the men’s Olympics football team in 1996 before Nigeria got its first gold medals.
Nigeria has Written the Failure Pages of Tokyo 2020
Having said that, team Nigeria has just 25 medals in its 69 years at the games, a poor return for a country with massive talents across its major sports.
Nigeria has ended seven different Olympic games without a single medal.
With all the years of participation, one would have expected that Nigeria would have developed into a heavyweight and a force to reckon with at the Olympic games.
However, 69 years after, 7 Olympic games without a single medal, little did we know that the country has yet to face its worst ever outing at an Olympic game.
Tokyo 2020 has been unique enough even before the Olympic torch was lighted but that was mainly because of the Covid-19 situation which forced the games to be pushed back a year.
The Japanese government and officials have been working round-the-clock to ensure Covid-19 free games while athletes had to double their preparations and training for the game.
Nigeria, in its Nigerian nature, prepared for the games in the usual Jamboree manner marked with various federations failing to put qualifiers and events together especially during the lockdown.
Not like Nigeria has had proper Olympic games planning before but the Covid-19 situation gave the West African nation a big excuse for a shambolic preparation.
While the minister of sports Sunday Dare brought up Adopt-an-athlete to help find sponsors for individual athletes and teams to the games and during their career, nothing else was done.
Now, several days into the game and with Nigeria yet to record a single medal, the saying that he who fails to plan plans to fail, rings louder.
First, it started with Nigerian athletes getting knocked out of the preliminary round of their games in Badminton, Table Tennis, Gymnastics, Canoe, and Swimming.
As if that was not demoralizing enough for Nigerians 10 outlets were disqualified from the athletics event for failing to conduct an out-of-competition test an incident which has been blamed on the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and the administrators.
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria is in disarray with different factional bodies claiming leadership which is affecting the preparations of the Athletes while as pointed out by Blessing Okagbare, its leadership was only bothered about its financial gains above the success of the Athletes.
Also news broke about how Nigerian officials almost denied the ten disqualified Athletes their Samsung mobile phones which every single accredited athlete will get from the sponsors.
The ten athletes took to the streets of Tokyo to protest against the perceived negligence by the officials of the AFN which caused their disqualification.
A few days later the country lost its biggest medal hopeful, Blessing Okagbare who was disqualified for failing a drug test when the Athletics Integrity Unit claimed that she used Growth Hormone Substances.
The same day, Nigeria’s male basketball team, the D’tigers were knocked out of the competition before another medal hopeful Divine Oduduru was disqualified from his 100m heat events for a false start.
Although, while we may agree that, if these uniquely bizarre incidents had not happened, it would have been business as usual for Nigeria with one or two medals or none at all at the end of the competition leaving nobody with realistic expectations disappointed.
However, the three highlighted events have made the Tokyo 2020 games an Olympics to forget for the Athletes, Officials, Administrators, and Nigerians.
While the Olympics has been successful so far, if there is ever going to be a documentary about the success and failure of Tokyo 2020, there would be no better and apt title for the failures than “Team Nigeria”
Not even a Gold medal will gloss over the disasters that happened in the camp of Team Nigeria.
However, as it is said that he who fails to plan, plans to fail but in the case of Nigeria he will fail to learn from past mistakes suffer bigger consequences and for whosoever does not put his house in order put himself at risk of disaster.