Steve Onyeacholam, the retired chairman of the Technical Committee of Delta State Sports Council, has lambasted Youths and Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, and some of Federations’ chairmen for deceiving themselves by expecting the country to win medals at the Rio Olympics when we never prepared for the games.
Onyeacholam, a former national swimmer and the current chairman of the technical committee of the Nigeria Aquatics Federation (NAF) said it was the height of deceit for anybody in his right senses to expect any colour of medal from our athletes at the Olympics except perhaps from wrestling.
He explained that his position is based on the fact that the country is paying lip service to the issue of sports development and preparations for major events like the Olympics. Onyeacholam bared his mind in an interview with
“I would like to start by saying that it is high time we started telling ourselves the truth in this country. It beats my imagination when people try to pull wool over the eyes of millions of Nigerians by lying in a bid to cover their shortcomings,” Onyeacholam began.
“We should be objective in all that we do in this country and sports should not be an exception. I feel sad when I hear people in different echelon of sports administration mouthing the prospects of the country winning at least 5 to 10 medals without any preparations and I ask myself, is it possible? Are we being truthful to ourselves?
“This mouthed prospect of medals at the Games can only deceive those who do not know what it takes to win medals at international tournaments like the Olympics. The Olympic Games is the biggest sporting fiesta the world over and somebody is busy deceiving himself that without preparations we are going to win 5 to 10 medals.
“I have always maintained that our problem in this country is not lack of talents but our inability to administer or manage these talents. What type of programmes do we have for these talents? Olympics come once every four years and we don’t prepare for it and we want to win, it is not possible.
“It will only take a supernatural force for us to win any colour of medal at the Games. We should be realistic in our expectations,” Onyeacholam said.
Speaking further, he said: “If the country will ever win any medal at all at the Games, it will come from wrestling because we have a female wrestler who is doing well at the moment but she has to step up her training and remain focused. It is only her among the athletes that we are taking to Rio that I see winning a medal at the Games,” Onyeacholam explained.
Continuing, Onyeacholam said: “I think it would be better for us to imbibe the American way of analysing their prospects at the Olympics. An American can never tell you that they are going to win so, so, so and so number of medals at the Olympics rather he will tell you that they are happy that they have qualified to take part at the Games.
“And as far as I am concerned, we should be satisfied with our qualification in some of the events at the Olympics. We should be satisfied with the fact that our flag will be among the ones that will be hoisted at the Games to tell the world that we are among sporting nations,” Onyeacholam said.

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