LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- Cross River State government has denied not supporting their athletes following Patience George accusation.
Patience George, a Commonwealth silver medalist and gold medalist in the All African Games slammed the Federal and Cross River governments of not doing enough on time to keep Nigerian athletes competitive and successful at international events.
George, who placed sixth in the last Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, stated this on Monday in Calabar.
She is currently the 400m titleholder in the National Sports Festival (NSF).
With a personal best of 50:71 seconds in 400m, George said she remained optimistic about breaking the 48:54 seconds Africa record set by Namibia’s teenager, Christine Mboma, adding that she has her eyes on winning Olympic gold
“All that I achieved thus far is mainly through personal efforts and nothing more. My state, Cross River, has been the most disappointing of all. There is no form of support coming from my state as regards my training and other logistics,” said the athlete.
George added, “As for the federal government, it is only when there is a major championship that some of us get to see and feel its presence. I feel Nigeria will do better if the government does not wait for competitions before remembering their athletes.”
She urged the governments to always ensure that they put the athletes in a competitive mood even without any competition in sight and attributed Nigeria’s inability to win a medal in the women’s 400m race to the absence of Imabong Uko in Birmingham.
She, however, praised the federal government for supporting athletes at the just-concluded Commonwealth Games.
Reacting to George’s accusation, Emmanuel Elom, chairman of the Cross River Sports Commission, said Governor Ben Ayade’s government always made it a duty to support athletes from the state whenever the need arose.
According to him, athletes must notify the government in writing about competitions because there are processes for providing needed support.
“During the last Olympics in Tokyo, we offered support to athletes who are from the state because they notified the government,” he said.