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Olympic Games As Development Index

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The Olympic Games, no doubt, is the highest sporting
competition worldwide.

Pierre De Coubertin is widely revered as the father and
founder of Modern Olympics since 1896.

Evidence abounds that the Olympic Games as a global sporting
competition is held after every four (4) year interval in a major city of a
developed economy.

A victory recorded in any event at the Olympics is highly
honoured because for one to win a laurel at the Olympic Games one has to compete
with the best athletes across the globe.

For a nation to be a contender of note at the Olympic Games
means to lead on the medals table consistently.

Interestingly, a close examination of leaders on the Olympic
medals table in the past thirty (30) years, for instance, evinces a fascinating
outcome, particularly as it affects the first ten countries on the overall
medals table.

One thing is clear; an unbiased evaluation of the Olympic
Medals Table in the past 30 years shows the dominance of the group of eight
industrialised nations popularly referred to as the G-8 among the top ten on
medals table.

It is worthy of mention that the G-8 nations include the
United States of America, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan
and Canada.

These groups of industrialised nations are also regarded as
the Developed Economies of the world.

Worthy of note also is the fact that the five (5) permanent
members of the Security Council of the United Nations form the nucleus of the
G-8.

They include China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and
USA. As if that is not enough, the hosting rights is largely awarded to the
continents of Europe and North America and anytime the hosting right is granted
a nation outside the shores of Europe and North America, experience has shown
that an emerging economy might have been identified by the organisers, the
International Olympic Committee, IOC.

This emerging economy is dominated by the Asian tigers where
China, Japan, North and South Korea belong.

Today, another emerging economy so identified in the world
is Brazil and the city of Rio De Janeiro already has been awarded the hosting
right for the Olympic Games in 2016 while Pyeongchang in the Gangwon province
of South Korea will host the Olympic Games afterwards.

This observation has prompted many analysts to see the
Olympic Games as an economic growth indicator or a development index.

Similarly, after the First and Second World Wars, it does
appear that the developed economies comprising the five (5) permanent members
of the United Nations Security Council do not go to wars to exhibit greatness
and supremacy but to the Olympic Games.

Again, the dominance of these nations among the top ten (10)
countries on the medals table in the past thirty (30) years is a  testament to the fact that the Olympics is
not just a sporting arena.

In which case, the Olympic Games have become the third world
war where developed economies, no longer, exhibit supremacy with guns and
ammunition but leadership through the acquisition of laurels as shown on the
Olympic Games medals table.

These developed economies are closely followed on the medals
table by the bailed out economies of Greece, Portugal and Spain before the
third world economies where Africa belongs.

It is pertinent to observe that, South Africa which is the
largest economy in Africa led on the London 2012 Olympic Games Medals Table
with three gold medals more than any other African State.

According  to
Professor Willy Okowa, a Professor of Development Economics with the University
of Port Harcourt “The economy has a role to play. Those societies that have
huge economic output, such as USA, China, Japan, have behind their economic
success “organisation” and proper “administration of resources”.

Professor Okowa concluded that: Credible institutions would
have been created over the years to drive the economy, pointing out that it is
this organisation and strong institutions that sport has taken advantage of to
lead other economies at the Olympics.

In his submission, a professor of Economic History with the
University of Port Harcourt, Professor Ben Naanen described the Olympics Games
as a “theatre of social war and any nation participating in Olympic Games must
participate with the spirit of war”.

In his words, Dr Hycenth Amakiri Ajie, a Senior Lecturer in
Economics also with the University of Port Harcourt says, “Performance at the
Olympic Games reflects the state of economy”.

Professor Okowa earlier cited, emphasised that “societies
that have successfully built up their economies clearly have superior
organisation to those societies that are yet to do so”.

Truly, Africa nations must strive to improve their economies
to benefit from superior organisation and adequate resources from the organised
private sector, as government alone cannot provide all the needed funds for
sports including the Olympic Games.

Unfortunately, poor organisation weak institutions, poor
funding of sporting events as well as lack of good governance have caused many
African athletes to seek greener pastures in European nations, USA, Canada and
the Caribbeas.

Nigeria’s Christiana Ohuruogwu and Mo. Farrah of Somali
represented Great Britain and won laurels for
them, while some Cameroonian and athletes from Democratic Republic of
Congo defected during the London 2012 Summer Games.

Funny enough, the poor performance of African Countries and
defection of African athletes seemed to justify the Euro-centric views about
the continent which before now were largely considered as racist.

This is why in the affairs of nations, the Olympic Games is
largely considered by Afro-centric scholars as an avenue for Africa to prove
Euro-centric scholars wrong.

Thus, Nigeria’s
dismal performance at the just concluded London 2012 Olympic Games
remains a sad commentary.

This is because Nigeria is described as Africa’s “Big
Brother” and its absence on the 2012 London Olympics Medals table remains a
concern.

For instance, the flag of the Nation – Green White Green was
not flown throughout the games and the national anthem was not sung at anytime
during the Games because no athletes won laurels.

The winning of six gold, five silver and two bronze medals
at the recently concluded 2012 Paralympics, therefore, is a worthy consolation
indeed.

On the other hand, players of the Falconet who represented
Nigeria in FIFA U-20 Women World Cup in Japan and their technical crew got N1
million each and N1.2 million for coaches respectively.

In other African Countries, victorious athletes at the
Olympic Games received similar cash awards and accolade, while some athletes have
won various endorsements which will translate into the improvement of their
economic status.

As President Goodluck Jonathan ordered for restructuring of
the sports sector, it is pertinent that the proposed National Sports Retreat
expected to articulate the way forward, will consider a gamut of factors that
are not only sports related to achieve success.

This is absolutely necessary because Nigeria as a nation
cannot fail in security of lives and property, education, health, good
governance and electricity supply and do well alone at the Olympic Games. It is
not realistic.

The education sector where schools sports is strategic must
be restructured at all levels for a better outing at the Olympics, while
scholarship should be given to potential athletes, in school, be they in
secondary or tertiary institutions of learning.

Critical stakeholders in sports administration must exhibit
discipline and be frugal in the management of scarce resources.

In this regard, the anti-graft agencies such as EFCC must tackle
corruption in the polity including the sports sector.

As Professor Ben Naanen put it, “victory at the Olympic
Games is a function of proper training, equipment, support and public morals
while nations participating in Olympics must compete with the spirit of war”.

Adequate remuneration and reward for victorious athletes are
key to restoring confidence in the nation and boost morale of citizens. This is
why the recent Naira rain on the 2012 Paralympians and award of National Honour
by President Goodluck Jonathan is commendable.

Nigerians and indeed Africans must not justify the view that
unless one moves to Europe and USA one cannot excel in any field of endeavour.

Finally, Nigeria must set long term target and prepare ahead
so as to win big in the Olympics and in turn justify the nation’s “big brother
status in African diplomacy”.

Sika is a journalist with Radio Rivers, Port Harcourt.

 

Baridorn Sika

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Reps Summon Dare Over Doping Crisis At Tokyo

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The House of Representatives has begun investigation of the disqualification of Nigerian athletes at the 2020 Olympics over alleged doping, asking the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, to come and explain the preparedness of the Nigerian contingent for the sports festival.
Tidesports source gathered that the resolutions followed the unanimous adoption of a motion at the plenary on Wednesday titled, ‘Need to Investigate Activities of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development on Failed Doping Test by Nigeria Athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.’
Consequently, the House resolved to “invite the Minister of Sports and Youth Development (sic) to brief the Committee on Sports on the level of Nigeria’s compliance with extant regulations set by the International Association of Athletics Federations and the independent anti-doping arm, Athletics Integrity Unit.”
The House also urged the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to put necessary measures in place to ensure compliance with extant regulations at both local and international competitions, while mandating the Committee on Sports to “investigate the immediate and remote cause of the failed doping test to forestall future occurrence.”
Moving the motion, Mr Babatunde Ayeni said the Nigerian delegation to the Olympic Games fared well in terms of performance, thereby raising the country’s rating in the comity of nations.
Ayeni recalled the outstanding performance of the Nigerian Football Team which bagged the historic first soccer gold medal at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, United States of America.
The lawmaker lamented the incident of July 20, 2021, where the Athletics Integrity Unit of the International Association of Athletics Federations barred 10 Nigerian athletes, including the highly-rated Blessing Okagbare, from the Tokyo Olympics for failing to meet requirements for out-of-competition drug testing.
He recalled that the Athletics Integrity Unit alleged that Okagbare, who won the opening heat of the Women’s 100 meters, had tested positive for human growth hormone.
 “The House is also aware that the allegation further affirmed that the affected athletes failed to comply with the rules requiring those from countries deemed to be at high risk of doping to undergo three no-notice out-of-competition tests in a 10 months’ period leading up to a major event.
“The House is concerned that despite the huge funds being made available yearly for the regulatory agencies in the sports sector, adequate efforts have not been made to get Nigeria into the category where they would be deemed to have made significant improvements in anti-doping tests,” Ayeni added.

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NYG: Rivers B’Ball Team Intensifies Preparations

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Coach of the Rivers State Male Basket-ball Team, Dagogo Okumgba, has said that preparation, are in top gear for the forthcoming 2021 edition of the National Youth Games (NYG)scheduled to hold in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Coach Okumgba disclosed this yesterday during an exclusive interview with Tidesports in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the team is doing everything necessary to get a better outing in Ilorin when the chips are down, saying that the players are in high spirits and are poised to compete favourably when the competition gets underway.
The coach said his players are committed to their preparations for the task ahead and determined to do the state proud at the games come November this year.
“We are doing our part to prepare as a team and wait for a go ahead from the Sports Ministry for camping so as to further prepare and fortify on the earlier made preparation,” Okumgba added.
The team qualified from their zone at the recently concluded zonal elimi-nation for team sports ahead of “National Youth Games” coming up next month.
It would be recalled that the zonal elimination for team events which comprised Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo states took place in Asaba, Delta State, fortnight ago.
The date for the competition was earlier fixed for September 7 to 17 this year.

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10 Athletes To Represent Nigeria At Winter Olympics

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Following the successful completion of its inaugural Olympics Trials in Lagos last Saturday,  the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria has stated that 10 athletes would represent Nigeria at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Games.
Technical Director, BSFN, Dr. Seun Adigun disclosed this in Lagos.
“Ten athletes will be named for the Winter Olympics.
“We will have two athletes for Bobsled, two in the Monobob women’s team, two athletes for the Bobsled men’s team, two male Skeleton and two female Skeleton athletes for the national team,” Adigun, who played a key role in Nigeria’s debut at the last Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang, Sourh Korea, said.
President, BSFN, Solomon Ogba stated that the team would train on ice in Europe, ahead of the Winter Games.
“This is the first stage of the preparation for the Olympics before the athletes train on ice,” Ogba said.
History was made earlier in the year when six athletes, who were selected from the first-ever trials in Lagos, trained and participated on ice for the first time in Pyeongchang.
Tidesports source reports that after a few days of training on ice, Perpetua Nwanna and Alawode Sekinat won bronze medal in their debut competition, after finishing third in the women’s double Bobsleigh IBSFSliding Korea Cup.

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