Nigerian competitors protest in Tokyo – After ten Nigerian athletes were disqualified from competing in the track and field sports at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, they held a protest in Tokyo.
The protesting athletes held posters that read, “Why should we suffer because of someone else’s negligence?” “All we wanted to do was compete,” and “We are not just alternates, but future medalists.”
“We are not just alternates, but prospective medalists,” “Dreams shattered,” and “10 out of 23, we can’t keep going this way” were among the messages on the protesting Nigerian athletes’ banners.
Ruth Usoro, Favour Ofili, Annette Echikunwoke, Chioma Onyekwere, Glory Patrick, Chidi Okezie, Tima Godbless, Rosemary Chukwuma, YinkaAjayi, and Knowledge Omovoh were among the athletes who protested.
The Athletics Integrity Unit disqualified Ruth Usoro, FavourOfili, and eight other athletes before the Olympics after they failed to complete the required three out-of-competition examinations.
Nigerian competitors accounted for half of the total number of athletes disqualified for breaking OCT rules around the world.
Following the demonstration, the athletes resorted to social media to vent their disappointment.
“Hello, everybody. After reaching this far, I am heartbroken to announce that I will not be competing in the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“First and foremost, I thank God Almighty for the trip thus far and all of my successes this season leading up to the Olympics. “Thank you to my family, all of my fans, and all of those who pray for me,” Ofili posted on Instagram.
“I believe it is only right that everyone understands the truth. Because of ineptitude and selfishness, I was punished for the crime committed by people who were supposed to be looking out for me. “Your negligence can’t demoralize me because I know God has better plans for me.” I worked extremely hard to qualify for the Olympics, and this is the payment I receive in return, ineligible to compete.
“The Lord is the Giver of Forgiveness. I pray that God provides me with the grace and ability to do so as soon as possible.
“Thank you all, and may God bless you,” Ofili added.
Echikunwoke, the African record holder in the women’s hammer, also wrote about how she learned she wouldn’t be competing in the Olympics on her 25th birthday, describing it as the most emotionally draining time of her life.
“On my 25th birthday, I received official notification that I will not be able to compete in the Tokyo 2020ne Olympics owing to the federation I was supposed to compete for’s incompetence.
“I don’t know where to begin to express how devastated I am. It’s as though I’m in a fever dream. To think of all the hours of throwing sessions, hundreds of heavy lifts, all the moments when my body screams in anguish and I tell myself, “It’ll be worth it,” only to keep going, sacrificing time with loved ones… All I have now is a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach. Echikunwoke added, “This has been the most mentally and emotionally draining time of my life.”
She also accused the Nigerian Athletics Federation of keeping them in the dark about testing difficulties.
“TO BE CLEAR, THE AFRICAN FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA DID NOT GO THROUGH THE PROCESS OF SETTING UP PROPER TESTING FOR US ATHLETES. They kept us in the dark about the drug tests until the very last minute, leaving us helpless. We must allow something like this to happen to sportsmen again, as it destroys ambitions and chances. In the midst of it all, I continue to trust the One who brought me to this point in the first place. I don’t know why this happened divinely, but I do know that everything works for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. I know God has called me to do what I’m doing for the glory of His Kingdom, not just for myself.
“To my competing teammates and friends, I’m rooting for you hard, I love you, and I appreciate your support,” she added.
Meanwhile, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics track and field competitions began on Friday, with Blessing Okagbare and Grace Nwokocha qualifying for the women’s 100m semi-finals. Nigerian competitors protest in Tokyo
For more updates on the Olympic games, read more on editorialtimes.com