2012 London Olympics, Nigeria’s worst outing since 1988

By IndepthAfrica
In Olympics
Aug 12th, 2012
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LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 27: Sinivie Boltic of the Nigeria Olympic wrestling team carries her country’s flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

With Nigeria’s last medal hopes dashed on Saturday night, when its 4×400 metres women’s relay team was disqualified in the final, it is now certain that the country will head home empty handed when the 2012 London Olympics end Sunday night. PANA reports that it will be the first time since the 1988 Seoul Olympics in South Korea that Nigeria will not win a single medal at the four-yearly sports extravaganza.

After failing to register its presence in Seoul, Nigeria went back to the drawing board, and that apparently paid off when the country won 3 silver and 1 bronze medals at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain.

At the next Olympics, in Atlanta, US, in 1996, Nigeria recorded its best outing ever in the history of the summer Olympics, when it won 2 gold – including the prestigious football gold – 1 silver and 3 bronze medals.

In the year 2000 in Sydney, Australia, Nigeria clinched one gold and 2 silver medals; won 2 bronze at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and 1 silver and 3 bronze medals in Beijing, China, four years ago.

Nigeria’s Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi has already admitted failure.

Addressing journalists in London, Mr. Abdullahi described the predicament of Team Nigeria as a clear testimony to how far Nigerian sports have fallen behind.

He said, however, that Nigeria would learn the necessary lessons from the failure, instead of giving excuses.

‘We shall therefore not attempt any excuses or indulge in any unproductive blame game. Rather than see this as a failure, we must see it as an opportunity to rebuild.

‘When other countries found themselves in this kind of situation in the past, they have used the galvanizing power of disappointment to get down to work,’ he said.

It is however not certain whether his platitudes will satisfy sports fans in Africa’s most populous nation, with far more resources than the countries that have made the continent proud in London.

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