The technical director of Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria (GFN), Anthony Asuquo has faulted the bronze medals won by the country’s contingent to the Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco, as he says they did not come through performances during the competition.
Rather than take credit for the gymnasts’ feats in the North African country, Asuquo opted to remain introspect, as he reckoned that the haul of medals in Morocco would send a wrong signal that things are being done right in the sport back home.
On the contrary, the mouthy founder of Abuja-based Tony International Gymnastics (TIG) Academy stressed during a radio sports programme monitored in Lagos that Nigeria has neglected youth development and grassroots efforts in the sector.
He alleged that the right selections of gymnasts were not made for the team to Maroc 2019, but pointed out that the country was only able to get medals in Morocco because other countries did not have full teams.
The international Federation of Gymnastics (IFG) certified coach and a member of the board of GFN stated further that the current leadership of the Nigerian body has done nothing or little over a year in office.
Asuquo, whose TIG won 10 gold, five silver and six bronze medals in the Junior Olympics in South Africa, had earlier alleged that GFN president, Prince Kelvin Ehizogie brought inexperienced people into the board, which he claims led to division, while the leader did not allow him and others to perform their duties.
Asuquo blurted: “We should not be proud that we got these bronze medals, because they did not come from our efforts, but by default.
“The only reason why we got the bronze medals is because other countries did not have full teams to the competition, and they were penalised.
“Nigeria only got the opportunity to get medals because we had a full team, not because we put in better efforts than others.
“This should not fool us into thinking that we have arrived in gymnastics, because there is still a lot that has to be done, especially in discovery and grooming of talents from the grassroots.”