Nigeria to look into failure to win any medals at Olympics

BBC

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered an overhaul of the sports sector after the country’s failure to win a medal at the Olympics.

Regina George of Nigeria running at the Olympics (10 August 2012)

Minister of Information Labaran Maku said the president wanted a “total and comprehensive” overhaul to restore Nigerian sports to its “past glory”.

Nigeria’s performance at London 2012 was the worst in at least 20 years, analysts say.

It fared worse than many other African countries, including Gabon.

Mr Jonathan had raised the issue at a cabinet meeting in the capital, Abuja, Mr Maku said.

“He believes that what this nation needs at the moment is to take a sober look at what has happened and indeed change the scenario… to return the sporting sector to its past glory,” Mr Maku added.

Beaten by Gabon

He said Mr Jonathan wanted to increase investment in sport by looking for private and public funding.

He also wanted Nigeria to focus on improving in specific sports in the build-up to Rio 2016.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with 160 million people and sees itself as a superpower on the continent.

It spent more than $13m (£8m) on the Olympics.

Nigeria had hoped its athletes would win several medals – long-jumper Blessing Okagbare and taekwondo fighter Chika Chukwumerije were expected to do well.

Nigeria won four medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Its performance at London 2012 was the worst since the 1988 Seoul Games, when it also failed to win a single medal.

South Africa won six medals in London, including three golds in swimming and rowing.

Gabon, with just 1.5 million people, won its first ever medal when Anthony Obame took silver in taekwondo at the London Games.

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