by crossriverwatch admin
Mercy Nku, former Nigerian international athlete has said she regrets not dumping Nigeria to compete for other countries that were courting her to feature for them because her efforts have never been recognised or appreciated by those who run Nigerian sports.
Cross River born Mercy Nku who won two gold medals for the country in the All Africa Games in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1999 said she never gained anything from Nigeria rather she was seen as a controversial person who was leading other athletes to turn against the sporting authorities.
“I was not lucky enough to gain anything from anywhere even from Nigeria because in 1999 I won two gold medals in the All Africa Games and also set the games records of 11.03 and when we came back, President Obasanjo only gave us a handshake and said that those who were in school should be given scholarship while those who are not in school should work towards gaining admission to enjoy the scholarship”.
The two times Olympic finalist who hails from Boki in Cross River State said when she finally gained admission, Amos Adamu who was then the head of Nigerian Sports Commission told her that the scholarship had elapsed and nothing was given to her until Senator Liyel Imoke came to her rescue by giving her scholarship to study in Canada. “I was literarily frustrated and had to retire in 2006. I had to retire early because people like Daniel Ngerem were pushing me around and because they wanted publicity for themselves”.
She said even when she was being pushed around by Ngerem, nobody spoke for her, rather many people were heaping blame on her saying she was controversial without really getting to know the details of her problem with Ngerem at the time. “After stopping me from defending my title at COJA, they also wanted to stop me from going to Olympics in 2004, but I say thank you to our former Governor, Mr Donald Duke who spoke to the minister then and suddenly I heard people saying Mercy has become a naked wire and they allowed me to go to Athens”.
She said people like Gloria Alozie and Francis Obikwelu at some point dumped the country when the athletes travelled to Portugal, but she returned home out of her love for the country but this was hardly reciprocated.
Mercy said even now that she wants to contribute to sports development in Cross River State; she is not being given the chance. “To be fair the state is doing well by encouraging sports development but I am surprised that with all my experience, nobody is integrating me in the sports plan of the state”.
Mercy who said though she is a member of the Local Organizing Committee of the National Sports Festival coming up in Cross River, she is hardly invited to meetings and other engagements towards the successful hosting of the festival. “When I was appointed into the LOC the sports commissioner scanned the letter and sent to me via e-mail, but since after that, I don’t know what is happening. Right now I don’t know the schedule, Last year I was invited for a meeting and when I got here they said it was cancelled and since then nobody has given the new schedule. I’m just dormant.”
She said since all efforts to get involved seems not to be yielding fruits, she has decided to sit and watch what would be the next step of the sports authorities in the state. ‘I just thought, maybe I should leave them alone”.
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