There Is Never A Shortcut

Asides imaginative fiction writing and ‘messing with human blood’, one other thing I rarely get tired of is sports. I love sports for its competitive nature, I love sports for its greatest power; the power it boasts over any other recreation, power of love and unity. The Olympic flame has just been put out, what do we learn from an event so huge to depict the dominance of the world’s super powers in sports, especially as a nation still struggling to win a single gold in 20years? Eeww!

The United state was United state at it again with whooping 121 medals (46 golds) — why now? Take another look at Great Britain, China, Russia, Germany, Japan, France, South Korea and Italy, at least these countries are the top ten world powers, if my statistics isn’t antiquated, and not by coincidence did they make the top ten of the biggest sporting event’s medal table. 
So why the whole hullabaloos on Team Nigeria taking just a bronze medal? What’s our position in the world’s superpower standing? Are we not generally regarded as a third world country? Does our 78th position in the medal table truly tell of the crises in the nation’s sectors. I’m just saying, may be we shouldn’t have being on the medal table.

USA: 47 GOLDS, 37 SILVERS, 38 BRONZES
GREAT BRITAIN: 27 GOLDS, 23 SILVERS, 17 BRONZES
CHINA: 26 GOLDS, 18 SILVERS, 26 BRONZES
RUSSIA: 19 GOLDS, 18 SILVERS, 19 BRONZES.

Left to me, I would even say we are lucky to stand in number 78, the last position, with the likes of Portugal and the United Arab Emirates. Is someone saying I’m not fair enough? Harsh truth be told, Portugal with Lisbon, UAE with Dubai are a ‘heck’ of two nations with far better socio-economic and infrastructural development than ours! 
Although, in the spirit of fairness and objectivity, this great country is supposed to be a better sporting nation considering our population and history in football, athletics, combat sports and few others. Oops! Meaning we could have indeed done appreciably well at the Rio Olympics and even other sporting events without being a super power nation…Oh yes, I think I agree with my thoughts, lest we see Kenya winning about 6golds at position 15, Jamaica winning 6 golds at position 16, Ethiopia winning 1gold, 2 silvers, 5 bronzes at position 44 and so on. Then we could have taken at least a gold each in football, athletics and boxing, considering the school of talents we boast back home at these sports.

So what went wrong?

Really I’m not a sport analyst in that ideal sense but I and other 90million or so Nigerian youths are aware that the ministry of sport really dealt a huge blow to our, well what was our, potential gold medal prospects!
But… that’s far from the big problem, the big reason behind our lacklustre performances in the past games is that we all think there is a short cut to success, predicting our medal rush without actually sowing for medals. This may sound outrageous but I tell you, record shows the UK sports spent about £4million to win a single gold medal, meaning that nation had spent about £108million to win, or is it to buy now, their 27 gold medals in the Rio games, the most gold medals they had ever won since 108years of the Olympics. The way they did it? By pumping £350 million from 2013 to develop and prepare their athletes for the Rio games, one can tell the number of years they had used to prepare for the Rio games. It is evident in their boxing facility in Sheffield, upgrade in their swimming program; gymnastics; rugby; track cycling; sailing; rowing; canoeing; tennis; equestrian events; hockey and so on. China did the same before Beijing 2008 and it paid off, hugely as they led that year’s medal table.

You think it’s too late for Nigeria? I will tell you about UK, for example, in Atlanta 1996 won just a single gold medal. You know what the government did, they created the national lottery as an indirect means of funding sports and gave grants to teenage stars, one of the beneficiaries was Adam Peaty, the 22 year old swimmer that broke the world and Olympic record for 100m breaststroke event. Four years ago, who would have claimed to have heard of Adam Peaty. Still on their failure in 1996 Olympics, the UK government also increased the allocation of UK sports from £5million to £54million and guess what happened, the dividend of funding paid off as they leapt to position 10 with a total of 28 medals at Sydney 2000 Olympics. By the time they hosted the Olympic games in 2012, they had harvested about 65medals to climb to 3rd in the medal table after sowing a whooping sum of £256million. And after sowing roughly £350million between 2013 and now, they had reaped their harvest of 67medals (27golds), climbing to second position with few of their athletes making history.
I’m saying this because I want Nigerian people and the government to change their mentality about succeeding in world events. And if you think my focus, Britain, is already a developed country what about Kenya and Jamaica, in these countries, there are ultramodern sport facilities/programs to encourage, develop and motivate young children to be stars in long distance races and sprints respectively, by world’s standard.

Well, may be we have too many problems in the country than pumping money into sports sector, but there is not just any other way around it; we have to invest In our athletes and make sure the investment is properly dissipated — hmm… I didn’t categorically say anything about the sports ministry not releasing funds for the Team Nigeria o — if we want to win medals and not just by counting on helps from Delta Airline to airlift our dream team to Manaus or from Mikel John Obi’s $5000 personal donation to save Dream team from embarrassment in a hotel. #Smiles.
Thanks for reading.