Posted by Nelson Dafe, Benin | 19 August 2012 | 3,465 times
A former female hurdle queen, Winifred Dafe (nee Okpewho), has described as “very disappointing” Nigeria’s performance in the athletics event of the just concluded London 2012 Olympic Games.
Speaking with Transport & Business Express in her Benin City home, Dafe who was the
fastest female hurdler in the sprints category of the then Mid-West Region in the late ’50s and early ’60s said that Nigeria’s dismal performance in not winning any medals at the games, and her poor showing in athletics in particular is a further confirmation of the country’s steep decline as a sporting giant of Africa.
“Athletics used to be our forte. Even though we somehow knew we were not going to have a great Olympic Games medal-wise, I still expected us to knick something from athletics. Not winning anything at all in all the athletics is absolutely shocking,” she said.
Mrs. Dafe thinks that the right course of action now is for the various stakeholders in sports to go on aggressive drives at the grassroots to not just discover talents, but provide them with enough
incentives to thrive.
“Sports ministry officials have to play their part in organising more grassroots competitions in schools and communities in sports that we partake in, and talents discovered must be groomed till they blossom. This calls for lots of financial sacrifices, and they must be made if we are to rise again,” she opined.
Mrs. Dafe narrowly missed out of the Tokyo 1962 Olympic Games when, as a young teenage underdog from Teachers Training College Ughelli, she tripped at the last hurdle in the 200 metres hurdle race at the final trials to pick Nigeria’s sprint hurdle representatives in Lagos. In the race, she was clearly leading hot favorite and then champion Claris Jones but fate played a part in denying her her Olympic dream
*Photo: Mrs Dafe (nee Okpewho)
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