Ten Federation Presidents on Tuesday submitted a list of 90 athletes representing Nigeria at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia next month. In 13 appearances at the Commonwealth Games since 1930, 212 medals have been won by team Nigeria.
In recent Games, the female athletes have been more outstanding in the various sports. Not to belittle the efforts made by the male athletes, but the recent female dominance calls for concern. Out of the 69 medals won in the last two Commonwealth Games, Nigeria female athletes have brought home 70% of the medals and 90 % of gold medals.
In 2010, out of the 33 medals won, the female athletes won 7 gold, 5 silver and 8 bronze medals while the men won 4 gold, 3silver and 6 bronze medals. It wasn’t far different in the Glasgow Games in 2014 as Nigeria won 36 medals dominated by the women. They won 11 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze medal while 2 gold, 5 silver and 10 bronze was won by the men.
Most recently is the African Wrestling Championships in Port Harcourt, the female wrestlers finished with 9 gold and 1 silver in the senior freestyle wrestling while the male wrestlers had 4 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze.
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In a chat with the media at the monthly Foskolo/SWAN platform, President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali said he is not surprised to see the women do better but thinks it would take a while for the men to dominate sports in Nigeria.
“I get similar questions all the time. Take a look at our female footballers on the average they have done better than their male counterparts which cuts across virtually every sports. Go to weightlifting you will see that our women do better than the men now, wrestling, athletics and judo. The only athlete that has won in the past year is a Judoker she combines as a wrestler. So I think it’s a case of our female athletes doing a bit better than the male right now not just in wrestling but virtually every sports,” he emphasised
“This is not limited to Nigeria it happens in other countries of the world. In Canada for example, since 2001 they have not had any male athlete win a medal it’s been the females winning medals every year. All we have to do is to deal with it but we are doing what we can. Hopefully with the cadet and junior wrestlers we have now, things will change in the next 4 or 5 years.” Igali said
In a chat with ACLSports, special assistant (technical) of the Delta State Sports Commission, Chief Seigha Porbeni spoke on the increasing dominance of female athletes in Nigeria and what could be done to improve the men.
Porbeni was at the first Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League of the year at the University of Port Harcourt High Performance Centre.
“A man trying to throw a hammer, javelin, discuss, shot put or sprint with no strength, needs energy to do so which food and vitamins can provide. Athletes move from various camps from Kaduna, Bauchi, Abuja, Lagos etc before taking off to the Commonwealth Games”.
“During the camping exercises” Porbeni continues, “they have the privilege of free accommodation, food, electricity etc but when they are not in camp they have to provide all of these for themselves which might be difficult if they are unemployed”.
Porbeni believes that “The women don’t have such problems because relatives, friends give them money but for the men, society believes he should take care of himself either self-employment or be an employee. Imagine a man begging for money or food, he would be looked down upon, mocked and people would rather ask him to go look for a job than sports or believe the sports ought to provide his needs.”
Porbeni continued, “We need to get the men employed through the sports ministry or get them engaged in to the Para-military, armed forces, prisons, customs etc where they can work and also train.”
With 10 Federations producing a total of 90 athletes making the trip to Gold Coast, Australian, we would have to see if the male athletes will overtake the female athletes at the upcoming Games next month.
The Federations are Athletics, Basketball, Wrestling, Weightlifting, Boxing, Table Tennis, Gymnastics, Para table tennis, Para Athletics and Para Powerlifting.