EZINWA TIPS OKAGBARE TO SHINE IN DELHI
A former Nigerian sprinter Osmond Ezinwa believes long jumper, Blessing Okagbare, is Nigeria's brightest medal hope at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India.
Okagbare, a Beijing 2008 Olympic Games bronze medallist, won two gold medals in the women's 100m and long jump events at the 2010 African Championships in Kenya.
And Ezinwa, a 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games 4x100m relay silver medallist, said the US-based athlete's recent performances placed her ahead of the other athletes as the country prepare for the Games.
He said, 'I don't really know what to expect from our athletics team to Delhi but hopefully they will do well. In Nigeria's athletics I haven't heard of anybody do anything great in recent times except the long jumper Okagbare.
'She is our major medal hope and we should ensure she gets the best training ahead of the Games. We may also do well in the 4x100m relays.'
Nigeria finished second at the 2010 African Athletics Championships with eight gold, five silver and five bronze, but Ezinwa says that should not be a yardstick to judge the country's athletes in Delhi.
'You can't use that to compete against more serious countries like Jamaica, England and Kenya.'
'An Africa championship is not the same as the Commonwealth Games. Coming in second position in Africa is not a good sign. It will help the athletes get ready though, but the level at the Commonwealth Games will be higher,' he said.
He also lamented the poor state of athletics, saying the wrong people were involved in the administration of the game in the country.
'The problems of Nigerian athletics are numerous and people that can help solve these problems are not involved yet. Right now most people that are involved in the running of the athletics are after their own personal interest and not the interest of the athletes or the federation.
'To fix these problems we should have a system but right now the federation is on a hope system.'