Nigeria: Mary Onyali Fears Nigeria Might Fail Again At Rio Olympics

Former Nigeria athlete, Mary Onyali, has expressed fears over Nigeria’s medal prospects at the forth-coming Rio Olympics, highlighting inadequate planning as a major reason for a potential downfall.

Mary Onyali Onyali told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that Nigeria was praying to win instead of planning for the Games. She said: “I am gripped with the fear and the anxiety that what happened in 2012 may happen again. “I am hoping and praying to God, I am not wishing any of my athletes to fail, but I’m hoping and praying that we can win a medal.

“I will join them in hoping and praying that we will get something out of Rio 2016. “It is going to be a very tough battle because you don’t pick a medal. “Any medal, even if it is a world championship medal, is not picked, you plan for it. “We have failed to plan to win, we want to win and then plan and it is not possible. “When other nations are planning to win, we are praying. “God hears our prayers but you have to help yourselves too.

“That is why I said, I am nervous that we may not be able to come back with a medal again and it will be very disheartening and devastating to the country. “Nigeria as a nation will be very disappointed, the athletes themselves will equally be disappointed because they were hoping that after 2012 plans would have changed. “New structures of plans would have been put in place to change what was done wrong in 2012 so that we can get a medal but I did not see it. “I preach it, I talk about it and I gave seminar but here we are, not ready for the Olympics.”

Onyali said she was working on a youth talent identification programme that would help the country to address its failures. She said herself with 10 other ex-internationals on various sports had come together to put up this programme to save Nigeria from the dearth of athletes. Onyali said that she and her group could produce a minimum of 10 gold medals by 2020 Olympics if the project would be properly implemented. The Rio 2016 Olympics is slated for August 5 to 21.

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