To avoid another winless situation at Tokyo 2025 edition of the World Athletics Championships, a board member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Prof. Emmanuel Ojeme, has advised that the nation’s athletes must be nurtured and psychologically guided to attain optimum performance,

Team Nigeria returned from Budapest 2023 without a medal, and Ojeme said Nigeria must take some radical actions to improve on her participation and performance in future competitions.

“Nigeria as the giant of Africa is expected to live up to its status in the sports field. The nation must not only participate but also put-up befitting performances. This is the burden of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria,” he said.

“Does Nigeria have the talents? Yes of course. Nigeria has the youth population with athletic talents. The youths are in the communities and school systems. Athletic talents morphologically identified, programmed and incubated through systematic scientifically structured activities as well as competitions in a horizontal and vertical manner by professionally trained personnel, could savage our image in world competitions.”

Ojeme, a top sports administrator in the country, stated that athletes should be nurtured and psychologically guided to attain optimum performance.

He said: “A critical tool required by an athlete for success is personal discipline to follow prescribed nutrition habits, adhere to training schedule, avoid steroid and doping, adhere to skill and fitness improvement practices, avoid being overconfident, take instructions from coaches and trainers and recognise that performance is not what happened previously but situational manifestation of competence.

“It is what you elicit in the present situation that determines your rating, hence, the athletes must be in the fullness of the present and not the past,” he stated.

Ojeme advised that Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, and others must concentrate actively on the present and future of their career to remain relevant, just as he tasked the AFN, Sports Ministry, and stakeholders to have a round table on the way forward for athletics.

“Nigeria has the potential to do better than its present performance outing. As part of the reform process and programmes, it is an imperative to train and retrain coaches and other hands-on personnel to ensure that knowledge and competences required for the job are updated.

“Budapest 2023 should be a watershed for development of athletics in Nigeria. It is now time to review our programmes and practices to ensure more productive outings in the years ahead. All hands must be on deck,” Ojeme stated.

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