Former Minister of Youth and Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, has revealed that one of Nigeria’s wrestlers to the last Olympic Games in London was pregnant.
The minister said he bowed to pressure to allow the athlete compete even after the shocking discovery, and that he was lucky nothing went wrong.
He did not disclose the identity of the wrestler.
“….And listen to this, another one discovered that she was pregnant after we had arrived London. We had to call a meeting of the medical team and the relevant Federation to take a decision,” Mr. Abdullahi said.
“In the end we decided to allow her to co compete since she insisted that she would be able to. It was a difficult decision for me because I knew if anything happened to her, I would take responsibility. It was my call.
“Fortunately or unfortunately, the girl, a wrestler saved me the anxiety. She just entered the ring and rolled over! Can you believe that! But this is to tell you that managing athletes is a serious business. Things would always happen,” the former minister was quoted as saying by online portal theinterview.com.ng
Interestingly, one of Nigeria’s biggest chances of getting any shade of medal in Rio is from wrestling which it has seven competitors.
The disappointing outing of Nigeria at the London Games is still in the front burner even as there are fears of a “more disastrous”’ show in Rio.
Looking in retrospect at what happened in London and how things have panned out in the run up to the Rio Olympics, Mr. Abdullahi said Nigeria has failed to build on the lessons for her past mistakes.
“The minister of sports in south Africa, Fikile Mbalula, has been there since 2010. In sports, you do not get results overnight. It takes years of consistent planning, monitoring and execution. Unfortunately, in our country the institutions are not robust enough to withstand change in leadership. So, once you remove the minister, all his ideas and work go down with him,” the ex-minister lamented.
He added: “Olympics is the highest sporting competition in the world. There is no next level. You should not expect to get world class results when you have not developed world class systems and institutions.”