A renowned athlete and General Manager of Lagos Marathon, Yussuf Ali, on Tuesday, called on the National Assembly to allocate more funds for athletics in the yearly fiscal budget.
He noted that unlike football, athletics has suffered lack of funding, which has stampeded its growth and development.
He spoke recently in Abeokuta, Ogun State while delivering a lecture titled “The Downturn of Nigeria’s Athletics Fortune”, at this year’s week of 2020 Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), the state chapter.
Ali, an African record holder in long jump, expressed concern that athletics, which won the nation’s first Olympics gold medal, has been grossly underfunded.
Ali said “Lack of funds is one of the reasons athletics is stagnant in Nigeria today. It may shock most of you but most times the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) does not have money to buy stationery.
“Athletics, a sport with most achievements in Nigeria, deserves appropriation of funds by the National Assembly like football.
“Apart from being the first sports and the first sporting federation in Nigeria, athletics is the first to represent Nigeria in major global games and championships and has won more medals than other associations and federations.”
He noted that reviving athletics would ensure youths ‘empowerment, put Nigeria on the world sports and tourism map and also create economic development and boost GDP.
Ali also noted that for Nigeria to become a world power in athletics, “the nation’s universities must marry sports as part of the universities curriculum like it is done in the United States of America.”