Seye Ogunlewe, Peter Moreno dropped as Commonwealth Games list stirs up controversy

The XXVI Commonwealth Games tagged “2018 Gold Coast Games” will hold from April 4th-17th in Australia and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has released a 37-man squad that will don the Green and White colours of our great nation.

The list which is dominated by female athletes has brought a lot of controversies in the last few days since its release as some big names were omitted while some on the list are not suppose to be there according to athletic buffs.

AFN’s 37-man squad to Australia for the XXVI Commonwealth Games

Though it is a welcomed development as majority of the athletes on the list are home based, unlike the past federation were foreign based athletes were held in high esteem and were more favoured than their home based counterparts and this had brought fuss between both sides in the past.

Despite the list being warmly received by many, a few key names which should have been on the list were for some reasons MISSING!

3-time UK-based National champion Seye Ogunlewe, who flew down from his London-base for the trials, isn’t on the list on the basis that he didn’t run in the finals of the 100m dash. According to the news, he (Seye) said the time difference between the semi-final and final was too short as the officials gave 35mins instead of 2:40mins as practiced on the international level.

Speaking with the Technical Director of the AFN, he said

“What happened at the trials was that, Seye came to me after the semis and said ‘TD I don’t want to run the final’. I asked him, Are you injured? He said no, no pain? He said no! He then said he is actually very well and he is very comfortable and he is feeling good. So why don’t you want to run the final, he said ‘You know i just started the season and I don’t think I am ready to run 3 rounds. I said, you are running 3 rounds in Australia, he said he knows but he wants to be given time to go back and prepare. I said no Seye! It won’t work that way. I would advice you to go and run the final. He said ‘ I’m not going to run. I can’t run.

Seye Ogunlewe looks over his right shoulder as he crosses the line to win heat 3 of the men’s 100m semis in 10.44s. Photo Credit: MoC

“If you analysis his race, he ran 10.3s in the heat, then went back to 10.4s in the semis, so he probably felt he won’t perform well in the final. I told him sorry I can’t guarantee you and I thought he was joking. He didn’t run. There was a 6-man committee setup and I said as the Technical Director,, this is a bad lesson if we give him. Would remove Arowolo (Emmanuel) that has more prospect of doubling in two events? So since he didn’t run, of course Arowolo was lucky to shift in.” He concluded.

There’s an adage that says “When two elephants engage in a fight, it’s the ground that suffers”. Well in this case, it’s Twitter.com. The fuse on the social media app in the last few days has been alarming and this has made Seye Ogunlewe trend on the App.

The athlete who is being managed by renowned company, Temple Management Company, has received the support of fans on twitter following the omission of the UBA sponsored athlete from the list.

Just as the buzz over Seye’s omission is ongoing, Facebook has had it’s fair share of the heat as Track ‘N’ Field page, Nigeria Athletics Incorporated has had comments by sports lovers and athletes over the omission of National Record Holder, Peter Moreno who won the Decathlon event at the trials in a wide margin and prior to the Trials, had left his London-base to train with the National team in Port Harcourt since December upon invite.

According to the disappointed British Army officer, he said

To not be listed on the team to CWG I can’t lie it pains me. I believe I’ve worked so hard from the beginning of last year when I set the record till now. I’ve work hard and I’m still working hard. What hurts the most why make us fill in dam forms in camp and do all the paperwork for CWG for me to be taken. I just feel like I’ve let a lot of people down and myself. My work who have been behind me from the start. I won my event with almost or over 800p in a competition where the was no body to supper, shout, clap or make noise for you. Nothing is left other than train and get myself ready for African champs. And the other small competitions that are around” He stated with a gutted tone.

Another athlete missing on the list, is fast-rising High Jumper, Esther Isah who performed excellently well at the trials, winning the event in a Personal Best height of 1.80m. The Commonwealth Games would have been a great exposure for the youngster if she was listed but here’s the reaction of the Technical Director on their issue.

“What happened with Peter was the standard and the possibilities because if you see what we did, we tried to balance the list. We are trying to see how we can increase the participation of our male athletes because it has been in decline for a very long time. We are looking at what’s happening around the World. We have to look at where we have slight chances.

The moment Peter Moreno, scaled the Pole Vault height to win the Decathlon, amassing a total of 7006 points. Photo Credit: SupaShegs

He continued, the Walking Race girl (Fadekemi Olude), this is the first time ever they will go for Walking Race. I didn’t take her because of the Record she set, if it’s based on that, if someone runs a National Record in the 5,000m, we can’t take that person because the Record isn’t good. She ran a good race walk, I looked at it, as the Mexicans, Americans, Chinese would not come, so there’s possibilities and I looked at her ranking in the Commonwealth list, there’s possible chance of medalling for her and on a good day, anything can happen as she can pick even the Gold. If he (Moreno) had made the standard, we  would have had no choice but he didn’t hit the 7850pts. He did 7006pts, so if he had done 7400/7500pts we would have accepted. The race walk girl was just 2s off the standard.

This standard is high and I want to keep it that way but if you look at the 100m, we had 10.1s in the 100m standard but how many of them did a 10.1s? None! Arowolo ran a 20.9s and the standard is a 20.4s and Arowolo wasn’t in Camp. He has been battling with injuries, so with another 2 weeks of intensive training before that time, he would run 20.4s and if he does that, Arowolo will medal.  So with him, its just  very little things that would need to push him to that.

“For Esther Isa, the girl is small and there’s too much competition for her. There’s a certain number of women that we must go with, which was given to us by the calculation selector (An Australian representative) because Australia said they don’t want people in their country. The rules for CWG has been changed even the visa, it’s paper that was given. It’s a list that has all out names because they don’t want people around the city. They don’t want too many people so they cut the list.”

Esther Issa, won the High Jump final clearing a PB height of 1.80m on her very first attempt. Photo Credit: SupaShegs

In the lengthy chat with the Technical Director, he also talked about Kemi Francis inclusion in the list.

“People said she didn’t finish the race and all! Well Kemi is not even running the 400m, she just going to be a back up. She is going to the Long Jump, you know she is an heptatlete, so people think she is going for 400m flat. Kemi is going to jump and do heptathlon but people aren’t aware.”

It’s alarming as well that out of 9 coaches invited to National camp in December, only 3 were listed to accompany the team as the fourth person, Mr Sunday Adeleye who is the Technical Director and Athlete Rep was listed as a Coach. This didn’t go down well with Nigerian athletics fans as many has vented their anger on Facebook page, Nigeria Athletics Incorporated.

“When did Sunday Adeleye become a coach? Or am not seeing the names of the coaches very well!!!”- Olawale Olatunji

Not a bad team….big up to all the athlete, buckle up for the final phase….For the coaches…..afn doesn’t and won’t stop failing to amuse me……jaboreee galore, continuation of monkey dey work baboons dey chop“- Abyola Isthename

The coaches are 3 my brother, look at the names very well one is clearly not a coach but have taken a coach slot despite the fact that 4 coaches are not even enough for the team. All in the name having accreditation for games village.”- Solomon Aliyu

“Hahahahaha, where Coach Akeem Oyewole, the coach that just won coach of the year award. Seye Ogunleye is missing out and Kemi Francis is present. I think they have both fate to either be in the team together or be out of the team, because one did not start and the other did not finish their race in the final“- Himah Charles

After d trails in ABJ the athletes rep address all the athletes and he also address how coaches where invited…Nigeria pls check this list of coaches and judge by what you see and tell me if is fair to have three athletes in a team nd be over looked?? OK make Una tell me the difference between this admin and this one?? Before i sign out good luck to all my athletes except the one that told everyone even if her old mother represent her in the trails without running she will be in the game…really? And she’s there…olojukokolo no go kill us….God bless Nigeria”– Nicholas Imhoaperamhe

Now the question on the lips of everyone is why would only 3 coaches handle a large team of 37 athletes? Reacting to this, Mr Sunday Adeleye said, Nigeria was only given four slots for coaches.

“The coaches were only given four slot and in the 4, they said the TD must come as head of coaches and we are struggling! We are begging that this thing can’t work. Who will handle throws, jumps? It’s a problem but we are trying to resolve it, for the ministry to do something. I have written recommendations and if those coaches can’t go, it will affect our performance.” He stated.

There’s more in the cooler surrounding the Commonwealth Games trip. Stay tuned

 

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