Africans in the Summer Olympic games came out to compete for medals to win for their respective countries. We saw African representation in boxing, fencing, judo, sprinting, rowing and taekwando, what are our expectations from African athletes in America and within the continent of Africa itself? Many don’t take into account the conditions in which some African athletes have to train when performances are poor or less than exceptional. Sports administration in many African countries shows to be a growing concern when it comes to the Olympics, funds granted for preparation for the games as in Nigeria’s case weren’t released until three months before the opening ceremony. We witnessed great disappointment during the Olympics, both Nigeria and Ghana returning with no medals and the Kenyan’s dropping from 13th to 28th place in London. Can we blame athletes for choosing to compete on other teams?
Dilapidated training facilities and little to no funds dedicated to providing adequate training in countries like Somalia can cause the debate to go both ways. With will and sheer determination we see Africans compete with vigor although their conditions back home are less than noteworthy, a story of triumph. Or we could come across athletes who eat, sleep, and breathe their sport and seek the best training facilities in other countries to compete and possibly break records along with winning a medal or medals. Can we honestly say that these athletes lack patriotism? Should we deem them disloyal to their native countries?
Across the continent governments are seeking to set up panels to probe the panels responsible for sports management. Countries are aware of the changes needed to be made to develop better systems that will assist in winning and sustainability for sporting and games. In order to prevent another embarrassment, which occurred in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup, Nigerian officials have placed a two-year ban on the country’s participation in international competitions. The purpose of the ban was put into effect for the country to put their house in order; changes like these may pave the way for more victories in Africa. The problem most definitely isn’t the athletes, Africans should not be deemed as failures, the failure comes to funding and the problem is with sports not being a priority in countries that may be dealing with bigger issues. In the face of turmoil we always see a glimmer of hope, so despite the conditions in which they train we should not measure athleticism on how many medals one returns home with but with the determination to continue competing despite the odds against them.