Nigeria’s superstar sprinter, Blessing Okagbare, has spoken out about her performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Okagbare, in a recent interview, blamed a change of coaches and nationwide pressure for her poor performance.
“The change actually slowed me down as I was used to the regime of my former American coach whose expertise made me win lots of races and jumps,” she said.
“The styles imputed in me during his reign from 2010 to 2014 made me a great athlete. At the London 2012 Olympics, my coach prepared me such that once I stand upright in a sprint, I will just be flying. That was when I ran 100 metres at 10.79 seconds. I was good to win a medal at the London 2012 Olympics, but the pressure was too much on me to help Nigeria at least win a single medal just for the taking.
Blessing Okagbare opens up on Rio 2016
“I tried my best but other determined athletes from other countries of the world put me down with their spectacular races in the 100m and 200 metres finals. I was primed to win but, it didn’t happen the way I expected.”
“With my average pace, some people rumoured that I was pregnant at Rio, but that was never the case. I was simply adjusting to the training regime of my new coach. The human body is not a machine,” she added.
“I had pains in my knee, so I had to drop the desire to do long jump which my coach believes I would win a medal for my country,” Okagbare stated.
She also had plenty of criticism for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), whom she accused of hiring spent American athletes.
“It is sad that the Athletic Federation of Nigeria, AFN, kept recruiting American athletes who are not good enough to win for America and neither can they beat me in my events.
“It is total waste of resources. Athletes that should be recruited must be the ones who can win international laurels for Nigeria.
“The AFN should pay more attention to grooming Nigerian young talents instead of wasting hard earned resources on unproductive American athletes,” she concluded.