President of the Nigerian Judo Federation, Prince Timothy Nsirim, has expressed regrets over the poor state of judo, which he stated had suffered neglect due to lack of support from corporate bodies and governments in the country.
Nsirim was at the two-day tutorials on key concepts and techniques of world and Olympics medalists organised by Accugas, a subsidiary of Savannah Petroleum Company in conjunction with the world renowned Edinburgh Judo Club of Scotland tagged: “Judo Master Class Weekend” held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking with The Guardian, Nsirim stated that the reason why judo had stagnated and remain anonymous in the country was because the sport had been left to survive on its own without backing from corporate bodies and governments in the country.
“We’re grateful to companies like Accugas for coming to our rescue by organising the Judo master class weekend to increase the techniques of our players. Companies like Shell, Mobil, Agip are there in Nigeria doing nothing.
“Every time we’re talking about football. Why? Kobe Bryant who died recently was he a footballer? But he was a billion dollars athlete. Why are we not helping ourselves in this country?
“So many Nigerians have money and you will see them advertising their companies on the CNN, very selfish Nigerians! I don’t owe anybody any apology because what I am saying is from my heart,” he said, adding that the reason why Nigeria will not be at the Olympics was because the federation lacked the wherewithal to arrange proper preparation for the judo players.
“Our judokas are struggling because there is no support from anybody. How I wished we had met Accugas earlier before this time. Our story is pathetic, not only judo. Nigeria’s entire sporting family is in trouble because the system is not working, our sports are not working.
“We need assistance. If we do not go to the Olympics this year, we can start preparation for the next one. Our bane has been finance, because there is nothing to work with. Let Nigerians come to our aid, the various forms of government the council, state, and the federal government should do something.
“At the Judo Olympic qualifiers in Senegal, the Nigeria Olympic Committee wrote us off despite the talented judokas we had and eventually we didn’t qualify. Even before we went we knew we were not going to qualify after spending our own money.
“Every time you hear budgets for football only in the local, state and federal governments in this country. But why is this? Our hands are tight, because we are like prisoners of war in our own country and only God can redeem us. Anytime I see the judokas practicing, I am always in tears because we’ve abundant talents,” he stated.