Why I was shut out of my Olympic Gold
A member of the 4x400m gold medal team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Fidelis Gadzama, has decried the discriminatory attitude of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) for deliberately ensuring he was not on ground to receive the medal despite that he lives in London, the venue of the presentation.
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Gadzama, who is presently the Chairman of the Borno State Athletics Association said in a telephone interview that, “the same way was how Clement Chukwu, another member of the team, was not invited while Jude Monye, who lives in the US like Chukwu got invited as well as Enefiok Udo-Obong was invited from Lagos. How do they think we will see them for their divide and rule of athletes?”
According to him, “the action was deliberate because I had announced my intention to run for the office of the President of the Federation. Our athletics had gone into oblivion and so, those of us who had the privilege to have ran the tracks have a duty to return and salvage the remnants of the destruction the sports had faced over the years.”
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He called on the sports minister, Bolaji Abdullahi, “to be bold and courageous to bring people with the requisite knowledge to reinvent Nigerian sports and not just football. For instance, I don’t know what Aminu Maigari is doing in the football house. Check boxing, weightlifting, table tennis and even tennis. Its all round failure.”
Since people don’t know how to resign when they woefully fail as in the London Olympics, they should be massively sacked and prevented from coming back to the corridors of sports. Even the National Assembly sports committees on sports have failed in their oversight functions.”
It is sad that Sani Ndanusa, the weakest sports minister ever in Nigeria’s history is the NOC President. What has he done with tennis since the last 16 years he had been on the saddle? Tennis is practically dead. So, that is his result sheet. Must failures repeat class over and again in sports?”On why we had a terrible result in London, he said, “there is no unity in the Nigerian team. Some athletes were celebrating the failure of Blessing Okagbare when she could not make the 100m. This is Nigeria’s worst athletics team to an Olympics. The sport has been badly managed. Sports journalists never helped the quest to our nationhood in sports. There’s hope if we set out to achieve doing the right things properly,” he said.
Gadzama was a member of the 4x400m team that came second behind the USA in Sydney. The Americans were disqualified when a member of the squad tested positive to drug.