Ex-international athlete, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi has described Nigeria’s third place finish at the African U-18 & U-20 Athletics Championship in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire as a stepping stone to a grand outing at this year’s Africa Games in Morocco and hope for better results in the near future.
While admitting that the continental sports fiesta in Morocco is the very ultimate Nigeria should focus on for this year, Onyali reasoned during a radio news programme monitored in Lagos that results enacted by some of the athletes that went to Abidjan are quite encouraging.
She acknowledged that the Nigerian contingent braved all odds against them, which included travelling to Abidjan by road, as they pulled off many remarkable results to belie the poor preparations they had.
Onyali, who won bronze with Nigeria’s female 100m relay team at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and individual 200m at the 1996 edition in Atlanta, USA, as well as gold in the 1994 Commonwealth Games 100m, believe Abidjan 2019 showed a rosy future for the nation.
She is also espying a great outing at the African Games, a level at which she performed well, with a total of seven individual medals – 100m gold in 1991, 1995 and 2003, bronze in 1987, as well as gold in the 200m in 1987, 1995 and 2003.
The African former women’s 100m record holder, who was also part of Nigeria’s 100m women’s relay team that won gold from 1987 to 2003, at the Games, added that the performances in Abidjan raised optimism of a grand outing for the nation at this year’s continental events in Morocco.
Onyali enthused: “I have to commend the athletes for what they did in Abidjan, considering that they faced so many issues before going there.
“They were not bothered by lack of money during their camp, or that they had to spoend almost three days travelling by road.
“They just went there to give their best, and the results are there to show. This has given us hope ahead of the Africa Games in Morocco.”