Nigerian sprinter Ejowvokoghene Divine Oduru has called on the West African country to invest more in its athletes.
The 21-year-old claimed two silver medals (in the 200m sprint and 4x100m relays) at the 2018 African Championships held in Asaba, Nigeria two months ago.
“My performance in Asaba was fantastic. I will rate myself 10 out of 10 despite not winning gold in my event,” Oduduru told Nigeria’s Punch in an interview.
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“My season started a long time before the African Championships – from the indoor season in December last year to the outdoor season in the USA and I believe the competition was the peak of the season for me.
“I am happy with my performance in Asaba because I was still able to run under 21 seconds in the 200m, which was part of my target coming home.”
Oduduru, who is based in the United States at Texas Tech University, said it was a “wonderful feeling” to run in front of his family, friends and fans in the Delta State and added:
“Nigeria had not hosted a competition of that magnitude for a long time. The country’s focus has always been on football; so organising such a competition brought back the country’s focus on track and field for a while.”
In regards to the country’s under-performance in athletics, Oduduru insists there are “many things responsible for the decline”.
“Athletes need to be invested in to help them to realise their potential while they put in their efforts in training and competitions,” he continued.
“The athletes can’t reach the top on their own if the right structure, facilities and support are not there.
“The country has many talented male athletes who can hold their own anywhere but more needs to be done to ensure that they become better than they are and reach the level of the other countries.”