The National Sports Commission (NSC) has banned African and Commonwealth 100 and 200 metres champion, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
This is the fall-out of her refusal to run for Nigeria in the 200m event at the just concluded IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China, as well as opting out of Team Nigeria to the ongoing All Africa Games in Congo.
Okagbare’s problem may have started when she competed in the money spinning Diamond League in Zurich, Switzerland, last Thursday, a few days after she failed to show up for the 200m event in Beijing, despite appearing in the warm up area. She claimed she was injured.
Speaking with The Guardian at the weekend, Director General of the NSC, Al Hassan Yakmut, said Okagbare had shown so much disrespect for the nation.
“I was shocked when I saw Okagbare competing in the Diamond League in Zurich last Thursday,” Yakmut said. “I was wondering if it was the same Okagbare who refused to compete for Nigeria in the 200m event at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China. She even opted out of Team Nigeria for the All Africa Games in Congo. Why?
“I have said it times without number that any athlete who feels too big to compete for Nigeria in the All Africa Games should not bother about the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. No athlete is bigger than Nigeria. I played volleyball for this country, so there is nothing an athlete will tell me about sports.”