Ali reveals Nigeria’s success secrets at Birmingham 2022

Team Nigeria’s Coordinator to the just-concluded 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Yusuf Ali has taken the time to reveal the secrets behind the most successful outing in the history of the games for Nigeria.

Ali, a three-time Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, admitted the positive synergy between the sports ministry and the Nigeria Olympics Committee was key to the country’s best ever performance in the quadrennial sporting event.

Nigeria enjoyed the best showing in the history of the Games after the country’s athletes won a whopping 12 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze medals to finish 7th in the world.

The long jump national record holder revealed that he had not witnessed such collaboration between the two sports bodies since he started representing the country in the late 1970s and hopes that the athletes can take advantage of the positive partnership and take Nigeria to greater heights in sports.

“I have been to so many Games, Olympic Games (three times), Commonwealth Games; this is the first time I saw a synergy between the sports ministry and the Nigeria Olympic committee (NOC),” Ali revealed in an interview with Nigeria Info, Abuja. “And the Athletes knew what they were getting before their events; they got their monies while they were in camp before the events started.

“We can see now that our athletes don’t know how to lose again, they are now winning and we must capitalise on that.”

“The men should try to emulate what the women are doing. The reverse used to be the case in the past and I think if the men start doing what the women are doing, Nigeria would be great. ”

On the performance of Team Nigeria at the Games, Ali said: If you prepare well, I think you would do well. And also the sports we competed in were cleverly picked.

“We took nine sports and seven gave us medals, I think it was a very good thing for us. People were saying “why didn’t we go with 12 sports, Why didn’t we pick badminton” I believe we would not have gotten a medal in badminton. So I think we carefully picked our sport and that is why we did well. We had less athletes and more medals.”

Ali, a two-time African Championship gold medallist, took his time to hail the sports minister, Sunday Dare, on Nigeria’s successful outing, saying that it is proof of the excellent work that the minister and his team have done to improve sports in the country.

“It is not about the sports ministry, the sports minister has been there for years, I think it is the calibre, the person of the sports minister that makes the difference. If they have the right man in place, the difference will come.

“The sports ministry has been there before I was born and it will be here for years to come. It is that person what to do, who to touch. In my language there is a saying “your head carry oil”- “If your head is good somewhere you will get results.”

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