Olympics: I won’t represent Nigeria again – Female weightlifter

Nigeria weightlifter, Mariam Usman, has hinted that the Rio Olympics might be her last for Nigeria if nothing changes about the country’s sports.

The country, a force on the continent and globally, has struggled to make any impact at the ongoing Olympic Games.

It looks likely to repeat the feat of the last edition in London where it finished without a single medal.

And Nigeria’s sole weightlifter in Rio, Mariam, attributes this to poor preparation.

Mariam finished 7th in the +75kg category, but reckons she would have done better with better facilities and incentives.

“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,” she said on Thursday.

Mariam won her first medal for Nigeria at the 2007 All-Africa Games and followed it up with another at the African Championships a year later.

She was ranked fifth at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and also won silver at the 2011 World Championship.

But her progress has since stalled after the London Olympics where she narrowly missed out on a medal.

At 25, Mariam still has around three more Olympics. However she says this might not happen if there’s no improvement about how the country’s athletes are treated.

“For me, it is not just about jumping onto the plane every four years to go to the Olympics. Every athlete you see here wants to step on the podium,” she revealed.

“If you can’t aim to climb up there, you have no business coming to the Olympics. 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.

“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.”

The African champion said before the 2012 Olympics, she had better training than she did under the current dispensation.

“Yes, I feel 2012 was better. I had better training and my result was better. This time nothing was done to better one’s performance.”