Some of Nigeria’s medal hopefuls at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan have sworn not to report to camp ahead of the Powerlifting World Cup billed for Abuja. The competition serves as qualifiers for the Games in the Far East country.
The difficult decision of boycotting the training camp is part of the crisis rocking the Powelifting Federation of Nigeria as some board members are at daggers drawn with the PFN President, Queen Oboh.
Although the Technical Director of the federation, Joy Mayaki, in company with some board members on Tuesday met with the athletes, they were told in clear terms that they will not move to Abuja if their grouses are not addressed by the board.
Reeling out reasons for their decision to boycott training and shut down their training centre located inside the a National Stadium in Lagos, the protesting powerlifters said the choice of Abuja for the training camp was not well thought out by the board as all the equipment needed for training are situated in Lagos.
They described the choice of Abuja as an attempt to be penny wise and pounds foolish as all the facilities such as accommodations and training equipment are readily available in Lagos.
The athletes who were visibly angry wondered why former Nigerian International and Head Coach of the team, Aare Feyisetan who has been with the team for more than 11 years was unceremoniously replaced on the eve of a major tournament.
According to the athletes, some board members of the federation are attempting to sow seeds of discord amongst the athletes. They wondered why junior athletes who were invited for trials ahead of the competition were exempted from participating at the World Championship.
They queried why these junior athletes who are meant to take over when the ageing athletes retire were invited for trials if the federation had no plan to feature them in the competition.
In her response, the board through the Technical Director, Joy Mayaki said provisions for the young athletes were not captured in the budget for the competition, hence the decision to drop all of them.
In the same breath, she said some junior athletes are currently camped in Abuja and catered for by the federation despite her stance that no provisions were made for them as the athletes queried her about the fate of those stranded in Lagos.
The World Championship is scheduled for February 5th to 7th in Abuja.
On Monday, in a bid to force the athletes to abandon the camp in Lagos, equipment in Lagos were removed at night and taken to Abuja.
Despite directives from the Federal Ministry of Sports through the Secretary of the federation, Dapo Akinyele, to report to camp on Monday for preparation for the world championship, have resolved to boycott the camping exercise.
The Secretary advised them to report to camp with immediate effect or risk being left out of the championship.
Speaking via telephone call, he denied being aware of the camping in Lagos as he revealed that the Technical crew will meet soon and decide the fate of athletes who have failed to report to camp.