Olympic medals is about hard cash, says Sports Minister

Team Nigeria

The Minister says there will be no blame game but that the country will rebuild

The over N1.5bn spent on Team Nigeria to the London Olympics is yet to bring in any medal but the Minster of Sports and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Bolaji Abdullahi, maintains that Olympic medals are about hard cash.

 All about money

In a speech delivered Thursday at the Nigeria House , Stratford, London,  the Minister said his assertion is based on what he learnt from other countries participating in the Olympics in the last two weeks.

“Having being appointed Minister and Chairman, National Sports Commission, only two months to the Olympics, I have had to learn very quickly. And I have not received a better lesson than in the last two weeks of the London 2012 Olympics. I have learnt three key lessons from this Olympics:

“Olympics medal is about hard cash. It is not a coincidence that the medals table appears to reflect the level of economic development of the countries. But having the resources is one thing, making the right strategic investment is another.

Team Great Britain largely owes its dramatic success to what is described as “unprecedented financial investment” totaling up to more than 740 million GBP over 15 years.  The current annual spending on sports stands at 100 million GBP. However, only 40% of this comes from the treasury, while the remaining 60% is lottery fund,” the minister said.

 No blame games

Mallam Abddulahhi admitted that it will be wrong to be making excuses or trading blames for the reasons behind the country’s poor showing in London but instead he said it is high time the country look at the models countries such as Great Britain has used in moving from zero to hero.

“We have been hoping too much on luck, but for once, God is telling us he’s not a magician”  Mr. Abdullahi said.

The  minster said he hopes that the failure in London would not just go like that but should serve  as a wake-up call for proper rebuilding process.

“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 have found themselves in this kind of situation in the past, they have used the galvanizing power of disappointment to get down to work.

At Atlanta 1996 Olympics, Team Great Britain won only one gold medal. Returning home, the right questions were asked, and the necessary actions were taken.

“Four years later in Sydney, they returned with 11 gold out of 28 medals. In Beijing four years ago, they returned with 19 gold medals out of 47, placing them in the fourth position. Today, Team GB is sitting pretty in the third position of the medals table surpassing their own expectation. Today, they are able to look back and say they have moved from “zeroes to heroes.”  This is our chance. We can also do it. We must see this crisis as the necessary disequilibrium required for serious actions and drastic change. We will not allow this opportunity to pass,” hee said.


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