Nigeria’s fastest woman Blessing Okagbare admits she always thinks about running for another country because athletes are not well encouraged to participate in competitions.
Speaking to Pius Aiynor of The Punch, Okagbare revealed that the just concluded Rio Olympics was the worst she ever participated in with Nigeria.
The Delta state born athlete said her colleagues in the games village in Rio were not motivated and most felt they should compete in order not to disappoint their fans.
On the possibility of running for another country, Okagbare said: “Last time I heard the minister say a gold medal winner would get $2000 and I asked ‘is that what a gold medal is worth?’
“And before I knew, it was actually in the media. You don’t bring that kind of stuff to athletes in the name of encouragement because we know what other athletes from other countries get.
“It’s been a problem and every year, I wish things would be different. At times it would be like should I move to another country?
“But you may understand why I refused to change. It’s my career and my passion so I enjoy it and that is what drives me. And that’s why I am still on the track and for Nigeria.”
Asked to describe the Rio Olympics, she said: “It didn’t feel like an Olympic for me but not because I didn’t win a medal.
“This is my third Olympics and I have been to Olympics that everything was so cheerful and the athletes were very happy. But for this Rio, I don’t know about other people in Team Nigeria as I’m speaking for myself, the morale was just low.
“Some of the girls come to me and we talk. Some times when they say these things (about how bad they feel), I just feel like these people feel the same way I feel.
“Everything about Rio was just low. This is the worst Olympics we’ve had.”
Nigeria’s only medal at the Rio Olympics came from the U-23 Dream Team VI who won bronze after defeating Honduras in a third place match.