Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Dr Patrick Ekeji has uncovered plans by organizers of the 2011All Africa Games tagged 'Maputo 2011,' slated for Mozambique in July, 2011to halt Nigeria’s chances of excelling at the games.
He regretted that sports where Nigeria has strong hold on has deliberately been removed by organizers of the Games.
Ekeji, who disclosed that with the elimination of wrestling, power-lifting and Para-sports from the games, Nigerian contingents are already at a disadvantage. He vowed to take up the matter with the organizers of the event and ensure the situation is addressed to avoid putting any country at a disadvantage.
“We found that some sports like wrestling, power-lifting and Para-sport, which are our medal hopefuls, were not included as sports that will be competed for at the 2011 All Africa Games in Mozambique this year.”
“These are sports in which we have comparative advantage. I understand that wrestling was not listed because the president of the African Wrestling Federation is from Morocco, and the country does not participate in the AAG. Hence at the AU Conference of Sports Ministers, he was not there to make a case for the sport when the decision was taken.
“It is a well-known fact that the politics of who wins games often start in the boardroom as contenders try to outsmart each other by including only those sports they count on. We will take the matter up and ensure the right adjustment is made in the game. The same scenario happened during the recent Commonwealth Games where the host nation, India, tried to remove weight-lifting from the game. However, when we threatened to withdraw from the game if they remove the sport, they quickly restored it,” he disclosed.