EXCLUSIVE By Dare Esan In Beijing:
Completesportsnigeria.com can exclusively reveal that the two USA-based sprinters in the Nigeria 4x100m relay team that crashed out at the very first hurdle here in Beijing at the 15th IAAF World Championships threatened to pull out of the race during the warm-up for the race.
Gloria Asumnu and Stephanie Kalu were so furious with management of the Blessing Okagbare 200m no-show and its effect on the relay team that they decided not to run.
According to Complete Sports’ impeccable source who was at the warm-up track with the team, the duo decided to down tools, as it were, after head coach, Gabriel Okon, told them Blessing would not be running.
The athletes were incensed and wondered why they were not informed earlier than the race morning.
Okon, according to our source, told the ‘striking’ duo of the consequences of Nigeria not coming out, especially after the Okagbare no show in the 200m and that the team might be prevented from competing at the All Africa Games.
The duo reportedly did not buy the argument until Yusuf Ali, one of the three coaches with the team in Beijing who was twice a long jump finalist in the championships, persuaded them to run.
Asumnu would later reveal to Complete Sports how disorganised the Nigeria camp has been in Beijing.
“The AFN should put people in charge who know what they are doing,” Asumnu told Completesportsnigeria.com in an exclusive interview at the mixed zone after the race.
“Since we came in here, it’s been confusion.This is not how to prepare for a championships.”