The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has dismissed a report in a national daily that there is preferential treatment in the handling of athletes’ welfare ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
AFN Secretary, Maria Wophill, insisted Thursday that prior to the All Nigeria/Cross River Athletics Championships in Calabar, top Nigerian athletes were informed that any of them who failed to make the Olympic ‘A’ standard of their various events will not be selected for the London Games.
“They were informed way back in January that only athletes with the ‘A’ standard qualification will be selected for the Olympic Games. As way to encourage them, we also informed them that the federation will give incentives to athletes that made the standards. This is the reason why all the athletes with the ‘A’ standards were accommodated in the same hotel as federation board members,” said the former handball star.
The AFN scribe therefore described as absurd the statement credited to Oludamola Osayomi that some athletes were better treated than others.
“Has Damola made the ‘A’ standard and was denied the same welfare? Let her tell the whole world what she has achieved this year in the sprints to warrant her attack on the federation!”
At the Nigeria Olympic Trials which ended Thursday in Calabar, Osayomi (11.38secs) placed fourth behind winner Blessing Okagbare (11.12s), Gloria Asumnu (11.13s) and Lawretta Ozoh (11.19s).
She did not compete in the 200m which means that technically she is out of Team Nigeria’s party to London.
Mrs Wophill further revealed that Osayomi just like other elite athlete was paid $3,500 training grant in January while others got $1,500.
“The era when we just take athletes out for competition based on past achievements is gone. Now, everything is based on athletes’ current form. Henceforth, nobody will take the country for ride anymore. Any athlete not ready to give his best to the country should think of something else to do,” concluded the AFN scribe.