Segun Toriola, who has been involved in six build ups to the Olympics Games, has lamented that the preparation for Rio 2016 is the worst ever he has experienced.
Toriola, who at 42 is Africa’s most decorated table tennis player, will make history in Brazil as the first African athlete to feature in seven Olympic Games. But he is scared that this could be the worst Nigerian outing at the games, even poorer than the London 2012 edition.
“I don’t think we ever had it so bad like this because even the last Olympics in London, by this time we had started preparation. With the current situation, I don’t think any athlete can do much in Brazil.
“It is disheartening that nobody is even telling the athletes what is the next thing we need to do. I think nobody should expect much from the athletes because most of our opponents are rounding up their preparation now while we have not even started,” he said.
Toriola said it was necessary for the administartors “to know that the Olympics is the biggest stage for every athlete and all those that have been winning medals had quality preparation. I think our athletes should be given enough support.”
Toriola’s lamentation mirrors the submissions of African former long jump champion, Yusuf Ali, and President of the Nigerian Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali.
Ali last month decried the attitude of the Sports Ministry to the preparation for the games, saying the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) was yet to open its Olympics camp because it lacked the resources to do so.
Igali, a former Olympic champion, was emphatic that Nigerian athletes will not meet the expectations of the country at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games because they have not trained well.
Igali pointed at lack of fund for the country’s preparations for the games as a hindrance to the wrestling federation’s plans to achieve success at the Rio Olympic Games.