…insist women more determined while men must train harder in their higher intensity space
After the below average performance of Nigeria’s male athletes at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the United Kingdom, experts in the sports industry have said the situation was nothing to worry about. The experts who spoke to Saturday Telegraph however charged the country’s male athletes across various sports discipline to raise their game at continental and global meets. It was a shock as Nigeria won 12 gold medals at the CWG in Birmingham with all the medals coming from the women.
The winners are Tobi Amusan (100m Hurdles), Ese Brume (Long Jump), Amusan, Ofili, Nwokocha, Chukwuma (4 x 100m), Chioma Onyekwere (Discus), Mercy Genesis (Wrestling), Oduayo Adekuoroye (Wrestling) and Blessing Oborodudu (Wrestling). Others are Olashade Oluwafemitayo (Powerlifting), Rafiatu Lawal (Weightlifting), Adijat Olarinoye (Weightlifting), Goodness Nwachukwu (Discuss PARA) and Eucharia Iyazi (Shot Put PARA). The opinions of experts in the sports industry are varied but they also generally agreed that the men will have to raise their game because the competition level in the men events is of higher intensity than the women. A former Super Eagles star, Dr. Felix Owolabi, said it was a reflection of the nature of women generally. He said: “A woman has the ability to persevere for a longer time. A woman can tolerate.
It’s psychological. Anything a woman does, she gives the best. She puts in the best and at the end of the day, she wants to get the best from it. If you look at a woman and a man in the world, how they train up a child. A virtuous w o m a n who has three children will wake up as early as 5am in the m o r n i n g while the husband is still sleeping. She will ensure she takes good and adequate care of the three children, ensure that they take their breakfast plus that of the husbands and she takes them to school.
In that scenario, you look at a woman as a kindhearted person, who is hardworking and wants to get the best for herself. In relations to sports, that is exactly how it is. A woman doesn’t want to see herself as a failure but men don’t care. They don’t care whether they get it or not but a woman is a planner and that is why they get results better.”
Owolabi says it is important to allow merit prevail to boost the pedigree of men in sports. “People especially men get call up on a platter of gold unlike before especially in our time in Super Eagles, you must work hard for every minute you spend on the field. It is not so these days. When you are hungry for a shirt and you have it, you will utilise it well unlike those who were begged to even come and play. “Again, no discipline. If you want us to get the best, there must be competition in the camp if not, in another five years we will not see anything while the women will wax stronger because they are doing things differently.
However, we should appreciate all our medallists -male and female- because they are all Nigerians. We should note that women take takes sports as survival event and as a means of livelihood unlike men. A Sports Scientist and former international table tennis star, Bose Kaffo, noted that men compete in rather higher pedigree than the women especially at the global stage. She said: “Men compete at a very higher level and our male athletes will have to rise to this. It is not good we compare men and women events. Truth is women are naturally more powerful and stronger than men. Like the Indians are strong and this also differs from British, Americans and so on.
The culture and background differ. “Scientifically, I must emphasize that the training intensity and other things are higher at the men level. A medal is a medal, let us leave this men/women thing and urge our coaches to go more in identifying quality male athletes from the grassroots. We are not saying men are not good but the men should be made to train and prepare much more to compete against the rest of the world.” Another former International and former Director of Sports, Dr. Patrick Ekeji, said women are generally encouraged here better. Ekeji said: “Our women are very determined.
It is not as if we spend as much as South Africa on women football, most of the girls that play for other countries are from Nigeria. The environment in Nigeria is harsh so our girls run to other countries in Africa. South Africa is the only country that spends a lot on sports and maybe Ghana. Women try to make name for themselves and get means of livelihood. Many of the girls that get into football or sports do so because they don’t have any other option. The environment is harsh and you need creativity on the part of government and the officials while the athletes must be extra determined to get it right.”