Former Sports Minister, Tammy Danagogo yesterday told his successor, Solomon Dalung to stop comparing Team Nigeria’s performance at the just concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia to the previous edition at Glasgow 2014.
Four years ago, Danagogo led Nigeria to finish in eighth position, winning 11 gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze medals in Glasgow, Scotland. Nigeria even clinched a sprint double in the 100m and 200m through Blessing Okagbare, who became the 11th woman ever to accomplish such feat and the first Nigerian in the Commonwealth Games.
This time around in Gold Coast, Australia, Dalung led the country to place ninth position on the final medal standing with nine gold, nine silver and six bronze medals.
Even before the team left Australia for Abjua, Dalung had been praising himself, saying that they performed better than the previous outing in Glasgow. He is currently at loggerheads with the leadership of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), who had earlier faulted his position on the achievements of Team Nigeria at the XXI Commonwealth Games.
However, the former sports minister (Danagogo) said in a message to The Guardian yesterday that there were no bases for comparison between their performance at Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“Do I need to join issues with him on that? That will be childish. But the fact speaks for itself. Sports journalists ought to inform him appropriately if the ministry officials are unable to do so.
“I guess he is ignorant of the performance at Glasgow 2014. If not, elementary arithmetic will tell anyone that 34 medals is more than what they achieved at Gold Coast, Australia. Or the 11 gold medals we won at Glasgow 2014 is more than the nine gold they won now. The eight position we placed at Glasgow 2014 is better than the ninth or is it 10th position they finished this time. They even participated in more sports and returned with lesser medals. So, what is he talking about?,” Danagogo queried
Meanwhile, Dalung yesterday maintained his earlier assertion about the better performance of Team Nigeria at the 2018 Commonwealth Games compared to Glasgow.
He lashed out at SWAN President, Honor Sirawoo saying that his comment was a cheap attempt at underplaying Team Nigeria’s noble outing at the just concluded Games in Gold Coast.
“In 2014 we went to Glasgow with 116 athletes in seven individual sports while in 2018 we participated with just 67 athletes in 10 sports including basketball which accounted for 12 players.”
“At the 2014 games, many of our athletes were at their peak but if you check the average age of the 67 athletes at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, we paraded young athletes who were making their debuts at that level and will form the crux of the future team.
“The Commonwealth is not just about winning medals, but also about participation, building networks and friendship across the globe and preparing for the next generation of athletes for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“If Nigeria placed 9th out of 71 Commonwealth nations which took part in the games, we should roll out the carpets for our athletes instead of condemning them.”