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Okorie urges athletes, govt against burnout ahead of Olympics

United States-based member of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) board, Victor Okorie, has advised the Federal Government to learn from past mistakes and provide training grants for Nigerian athletes to stop them from burnout before the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The urge to make money from the circuit usually forces most Nigerian athletes to run in every meet available when their colleagues in advanced countries limit their participation in pre-Olympics competitions to conserve energy before the Games.

“We have a few months to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and it will be more productive for our government to give training grants to our athletes to prevent them from burning their energy competing in different competitions to raise money to take care of themselves,” Okorie told The Guardian yesterday.

Okorie, a silver medallist in the 400m at 2003 African Games in Abuja, said; “As we speak, athletesfrom other serious countries have received their training grants, which helps them to pay their bills, coaches, physiotherapists, nutritionists and some other essential things that will help them to deliver at the Olympics.

“You don’t wait until you get to a competition venue before paying your athletes. In 2003, I was part of Nigerian athletes to the World Championships in Paris, France. It was at the competition venue that the sports ministry paid us training grants. They called it ‘Chopping Grants’. That was the first time I heard that word. That is wrong.

“Majority of the athletes are professional and they have a lot of bills to cover. It is not cheap over here. I know the present Sports Minister has good intentions and he wants Nigeria to succeed at the Paris Olympics.

“The Federal Government needs to provide the basics