- Isaac Isaac
Two Nigerian athletes, Alaba Akintola and Ezinne Abba, have vehemently spoken out against their ‘unjust’ exclusion from the World Championships starting on Friday in Oregon, United States citing negligence and egocentric actions of the stakeholders of the ministry of Youth and Sports.
Alaba Akintola, a 200m sprinter, despite making the qualification marks was never included in Team Nigeria’s team list to Oregon, Ezinne Abba, who is also a sprinter is more pained having been previously listed and only allegedly dropped 40 minutes before boarding her flight to Oregon.
Both athletes vented their disappointments on their Instagram pages where they accused the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and the Sports authorities of bias and incompetence.
Akintola, an undergraduate with the Middle Tennessee State University had hit the qualifying time in the 100m with a Personal Best (PB) of 10.04s and 20.26s in the 200m.
He was also instrumental to Nigeria’s qualification for the Men’s 4x100m Relay and was already preparing for his first-ever appearance at the World Championships only for his dreams to be shattered because of a biased system.
Aware of the different notions as to why he was dropped from the Nigeria team, the Tennessee-based sprinter took to social media to utter his frustration.
He wrote on his Instagram page: “Sadly, I’m going to be out of world championship after I qualified for 3 events(100M, 200M, & 4*100M) not because I failed dope but because of politics because that’s what it looks like rn; they hid under the umbrella of OCT (out of competition test), meaning I didn’t submit my whereabouts or whatever (been on this shit since march).
“They already cost me a major championship (that’s their plan ikr) and I knew they know what they doing/did. Thanks to everyone that cared and showed love, really appreciate it. Stepping stone to greater things”
For Ezinne, who recently decided to shun the United States and represent Nigeria only to be devastated by how her dream has been shattered by the negligent sports authorities.
The University of California, Berkeley graduate lamented that after sacrificing everything to represent Nigeria on the global stage, the AFN has failed her with their actions and inactions.
She took to her Instagram and said, “It has always been my dream to compete for Nigeria on the world stage. but, despite reaching the world standard, flying to Nigeria alone, switching my allegiance from the U.S., and mentally/physically preparing myself after my first ever hamstring strain.
“The Athletic Federation of Nigeria has failed me. The negligence and egocentric actions of the minister and other admin have once again overcome the federation which negatively affects the athletes.
“Why am I being told 40 minutes before my flight to Oregon, the week of competition, that I’m no longer competing because of their wrongdoings and irrational fear? I have already passed 2/3 drug tests, but for some reason, I am not allowed to do my third test because of “fear of failure”.
For Ezinne, more lip service is being paid to the continuous talks of overhauling the system as corruption and avoidable errors still reign supreme in the sporting federations.
“They speak repeatedly about trying to fix the broken system that is Nigerian Athletics by firing and hiring all new staff, but the corruption still lives. I, unfortunately, will not be competing at worlds or the commonwealth games,” she added.