Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare has expressed discomfort with the challenges she’s confronted in a bid to represent Nigeria at international competitions.
She said this in a video interview granted to Athletics Africa after her race at the Birmingham Diamond League on Sunday.
She explained that overseas-based athletes faced pressure representing Nigeria, adding that sports administrators in the country were not helping matters.
The sprint queen said it “costs a lot to represent Nigeria,” noting that it pisses her off to discuss being an athlete from the country.
She lamented that despite going through a lot to ensure victory for the country at competitions, overseas-based athletes were subjected to poor welfarism.
She narrated how she nursed injury for about three years with little or no support from Nigerian officials, saying that they only identified with her when she was healthy to compete.
She said, “I feel that most of us have suffered from the pressure. We (overseas-based athlethes) try our best but they don’t make us who we are. It got to a point that I realised that very few people cared about you. They just want you to go out there but they don’t understand what it takes for you to get there.
“When I went to the World Championships in 2013 and the Commonwealth Games, I was going through a lot but I had to realise that I must come first and if I don’t achieve things that I set to achieve, people will see me first as a failure before they see any other person.”
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