Nigerian international gymnastics coach, Ànthony Asuquo has condemned the practice of ‘renting’ athletes by states during national competitions such as National Sports Festivals, NSF and National Youth Games, NYG
Mr Asuquo who is a certified coach with the International Gymnastics Federation, IGF, noted that such culture is condemnable as it outs the athletes at risks and also hampers the growth of their careers.
The former Technical Director of Gymnastics Federation of Nigeria, GFN stated this in an interview.
“Ever since I have been competing at the NSF from 1989 to 2006, I have never seeing us record data at the NSF as a country. Although we have been able to discover athletes that are exceptionally outstanding from the NSF. But getting their data is something federations have not be doing.
“Many good athletes faded out because there is no encouragement from the federation or from their different sports councils. Many of them do not get paid, they go for training and after, sort themselves out.
“Some of these athletes are used and dumped by states during NSF such that during the festivals, states signed them to compete for them but after the festivals, they are all gone.
“Federations do not also organise programmes, no physical preparation, thus after the festival, they just let the athletes go. Any time there are competitions, you see them rushing, train for two or three weeks to get them together and compete for the championship.
“This, to my opinion, is not healthy for our athletes and for the conditioning of the physical body. We need to get the athletes’ body alignment fixed and then their physical preparations too.
“So the policy concerning grassroots sports is that we should be able to have data of all our athletes and get competitions cut across all federations in Nigeria.
We should also have a monitoring team. When I attended my coaching course at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, I studied sports science, much was said on physical preparations and we cannot do without that,” he said.