Justice At Last for Nigeria - AFN.
Nigeria (AFN) Sunday described the awarding of the Sydney Olympic Games men’s 4x400m relay gold to Nigeria as Justice at Last even if coming belatedly.
Sunday Bada, a key member of that relay quartet, died Last December 12 while the Antonio Pettigrew, the quarter miler who tested to dope to warrant IOC stripping the USA team of the gold in 2008 also died two years ago. Other members of the Nigerian squad included, Clement Chukwu, Jude Monye and anchor leg, Enefiok Udo-Obong.
Sunday, President of the AFN, Chief Solomon Ogba told THISDAY that his federation was delighted to have the medal finally awarded to Nigeria at this auspicious time that the country was in the fray to make another impact at the multi-sports global fiesta.
“We are very happy over this development as it is going to spur our athletes to greater heights in London. We are also happy that Justice has been done finally after waiting endlessly for the gold to be awarded to Nigeria,” said the former Delta State sports commissioner.
Ogba is however sad that a key member of the team who should be sharing in the glory died before the IOC finally agreed to strip USA of the precious metal. “I would have been happier if my former Technical Director, Sunday Bada, was here to share in this glory,” observed a pensive Ogba who breezed into the country Sunday from Jerusalem where when to pray for the success of Team Nigeria at the London 2012.
Even as track & field aficionados are celebrating the 1600m Olympic gold, 12 years after Udo-Obong ran a blistering race of his life to chase American Michael Johnson to the finish line to pick the silver medal, the AFN chief is sad that Team Nigerian male team failed to make it to the event at the London Games.
“It is sad that we are not going to compete in the male event where our silver medal has become gold now. We did everything humanly possible to encourage our quarter milers to make it to London but unfortunately only the girls were able to make it in that event,” stressed Ogba.
Barely a week to the opening ceremony of the London 2012, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board on Saturday ruled to award the gold to Nigeria. Pettigrew, who committed suicide in 2010, had been disqualified in 2008 from the 4x400m race in Sydney where the United States won gold with a team which included Michael Johnson.
"Pettigrew was disqualified in August 2008 but the EB delayed a decision on re-allocation until it had received information stemming from investigations into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) sports-doping scandal," a statement from the IOC read late Saturday evening.
"Having confirmed that no further information on other athletes would be forthcoming, the EB agreed to reallocate the medals and diplomas. "The teams from Nigeria, Jamaica and the Bahamas that finished behind the US men in the 4x400m race will be awarded gold, silver and bronze medals respectively," concludes the cheering news from the IOC.
Meanwhile, two members of Nigeria’s 4x400 men’s relay team to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Clement Chukwu and Jude Monye, both U.S-based, have reacted to IOC award of the gold to them. They hailed the decision as a surprise they did not imagine could happen in their lifetime, coming 12 years after the race.
Justice At Last for Nigeria - AFN.
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