Former Nigeria’s top athlete, Uchenna Emedolu, has denied reports that he indicted the National Sports Commission and President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba, over the baton exchange mistake which brought misunderstanding between the country’s top sports hierarchy and the athletics team that attended the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Emedolu was reacting to recent newspaper reports that he accused the AFN and Ogba over the matter said: “I was surprised to read in some Nigerian dailies that I indicted the AFN and Chief Ogba over the baton exchange problem”.
He added that: “For example, Ogba has been at the forefront to making sure that the ban imposed on me by the National Sports Commission is lifted, and so, why should I say such a thing against someone that wants the best for me? It’s really unfortunate that people can go to any length to malign someone’s character and personality”.
Speaking further, the former 400m champion maintained that: “I want to repeat here that I did not in anyway accuse anyone over what happened and I want those who are behind this untrue story to retract it”.
Emedolu, who won the IAAF World Cup in 2002 in the 100 metres, restated that the Beijing Olympics Games baton exchange incident was not anybody’s fault to warrant anyone being accused or criticized on the pages of newspapers. “The controversy which the baton exchange had raised was not intentional and therefore could not have been anyone’s fault”. “So, I want to disassociate myself from the on-going plan by some people to re-visit the issue again”.
Before now, NSC director-general, Patrick Ekeji, had announced Emedolu’s ban over the former speedster’s alleged dropping of baton at the 2008 Africa Athletics Championship in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia and at the Beijing 2008 Olympics earlier this year.