Mariam Usman, a Nigerian female weightlifter representing her home country at the Rio Olympics is not certain she will not be representing Nigeria in any other international event.
“I can only consider going to another Olympics if things change for the better. But if the status quo is maintained, I don’t think I will go to another Olympics again.”
Mariam’s bone of contention is the nonchalance of the Nigerian sports authorities. According to the obviously disappointed champ, the patriotic fire in her is fast diminishing.
She says that her counterparts from all around the world at the Rio Olympics have been training for years preparing for the ongoing once-in-4-year event.
“It is painful to come to the Olympics and see people who are your contemporaries perform better than you; not because you lack the ability but because you were not prepared like them.”
“For me, it is not just about jumping unto the plane every four years to go to the Olympics. Every athlete you see here wants to step on the podium. If you can’t aim to climb up there, you have no business coming to the Olympics.”
She went on to say that they (co-competitors) had been familiar and well acquainted with new equipment for the games but such was never a reality in Nigeria.
“The people you have to compete with had everything they needed: training grants, competitions and are exposed to the most modern equipment. I had nothing. You don’t expect such people who have invested so much to lose to one who don’t even train adequately.”
In fairness, Mariam Usman admits that 2012 Olympics was better off with regards to training and preparations for the Olympics in London. The unhappy weightlifter missed a bronze medal in 2012 as a result of an injured wrist.
Mariam Usman is a multiple weightlifting champ who has represented Nigeria in a good number of games. She is familiar with the +75kg weightlifting category.
The 3-time Olympian came 8th in her final group in the +75 category; amassing 265 kg at Rio. She was also the overall 9th position in the Olympics.
The 2014 Commonwealth medalist happens to be the only weightlifter that represented Nigeria at Rio.