The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) on Monday in Abuja insisted that Nigeria’s performance at the XXI Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia could have yielded better results if the right things had been done.
The association faulted the position of the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, that the Gold Coast 2018 performance was the best in the history of Team Nigeria at the Games.
“It is unbelievable that the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, could contend that our performance in Gold Coast which brought a total of 24 medals from 10 sports was better than that of Glasgow in 2014 where the country recorded 36 medals, comprising 11 gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze medals from seven sports.
“Also, given the resources that were put into our participation at the Gold Coast Games, as well as the benefit of learning from the mistakes of the past, we should have done better than ever,’’ SWAN said in a statement signed by its Secretary-General, Olawale Alabi.
The association said it was its belief that the minister must have acted from an “ill-informed position’’.
SWAN, going further, said Dalung by now should have been aware of the fact that sports in view of its sensitive nature to Nigerians and the role it plays in uniting the country does not deserve utterances and conduct which sway towards politicising the sector.
The body expressed wonder at the fact that Dalung was expecting success from a situation where the athletes were not well-prepared, advising that adequate preparations should always be the focus before subsequent international competitions.
“If not for the intervention of Nigeria’s foreign-based athletes who had better training opportunities and facilities, we might not have won any medal,’’ he said.
SWAN then urged the Federal Government to stop paying lip-service to sports development, in view of the fact that it is a huge industry that has the capacity to engage the country’s youths and create wealth.
Moments after the confirmation of ninth position of Team Nigeria at the Games, the Sports Minister had said that “we have done a comparative analysis and looked at the size of our contingent when we went to Glasgow. How many sports we competed in and how much money was voted? These are the factors which will confirm whether we have done better here or not. From the average knowledge of what I have, we have done better here than what we did in Glasgow.”