Trouble they say comes in threes, first it was the saga that enveloped the sports sphere following a purported denial of a congratulatory letter from the National Olympic Committee (NOC), then came the stripping of the gold medal of Olatoye Oyesade, then came the sound of discordant tunes within the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) which has led to the hint that the stripping of Oyesade’s gold medal was a form of sabotage.
However the AFN has come out to discount some of these claims and assert others.
On the issue of the letter sent by NOC, the federation asserted that indeed they had received a congratulatory message from the body signed by its President, Engr. Habu Gumel on the success of the 2019 African Games on 10th September and 2019 IAAF World championships on 7th October thus discrediting a publication by a news media that inferred the latter.
According to a board member of the AFN, the publication was an affront to the federation and advised for it to be retracted.
“The NOC President personally signed two letters congratulating the AFN on the success of the 2019 African Games on 10th September and 2019 IAAF World championships on 7th October. So I do not know and where reporters got his side of the story and strongly advise that it be redacted”.
The letter had read; “The Executive Board and members of Nigeria Olympic Committee extend warm compliment of the Presidents and members of Athletics Federation family in Nigeria.
“It’s my singular honour and privilege to congratulate you on the recent performance of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria at the just concluded DOHA 2019 IAAF World Champions held in Doha. Your love and dedication to the Games continue to showcase itself as you strive to put the name of our dear nation in the annals of history.
“I therefore urge you not to relent as the journey is still far. Tokyo 2020 is just in a few months and I am sure you will put in all the energy required to make the Nigeria proud on the Global Podium of the Olympic”.
Delving further into the issue of the Gold Stripping saga, the AFN uncovered a sabotage within the federation which led to Olatoye Oyesade’s losing her gold medal after the 2019 African Games in Morocco.
Fresh claims arising within the federation stated that a co-opted member of the federation had discreetly made claims against the athlete in a mail sent to the IAAF which culminated to the stripping.
It was discovered that the member was also part of the panel set up by the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare to overlook the nation’s performance at the 2019 IAAF Athletics championships in Doha.
A reliable source close to the federation had expressed shock over the turn of events stating that it could be a form of retaliation from the supposed member.
“We at the federal ministry of sports are shocked that a Nigerian, especially an individual close to the board of AFN can go to the length of writing a letter to IAAF stripping off an athlete gold medal won at the 2019 African Games because of ego; this is shameful and unpatriotic”.
“The funniest thing is that the said board member was part of the panel who submitted their recommendations to the minister on the performance of Team Nigeria at the 2019 IAAF Athletics championships in Doha”.
“Maybe this is his way of trying to put off the AFN after he was denied a position by board members”, the source said.