A former president of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Major General David Jemibewon (rtd) has said he didn’t lead the Nigerian contingent to the 1988 Olympics Games in Seoul because he didn’t believe the team would win a medal.
Speaking on the occasion of his 80th birthday, the former military governor of the now-defunct Western State said he was not prepared to take a large team to the Games and come back home without a medal.
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“I had good plans as Nigeria Olympic Committee president. For example, I was not ready to take a large contingent to the Olympics as I wanted us to be certain and have ideas as to how many medals and as to what sports we should plan for. I didn’t want us to go on a wild hunt.
“I won’t go into much details why I didn’t lead the team to the Olympics because it is a long story. I didn’t go because I felt Nigeria wasn’t prepared and I would not do the country proud.
“I knew we were not going to win anything and as for me, I have a standard, I withdrew myself. Samuel Ogbemudia was appointed to lead and that was one of the Olympics Nigeria went to and never won a medal.
“I concentrated more on individual sports like boxing, javelin, shot put etc. In fact, there was one year Morocco went to the Olympics with one athlete and it won a gold medal. They believed that was where they could get gold, trained the athlete and achieved it.
“So it is not the number of athletes that go to the Olympics that matter but their performances,” he said.