A renowned athletics coach, Tobias Igwe, on Friday urged sports administrators to engage the services of veteran coaches that have previously produced world class athletes for the nation.
Igwe, who discovered the likes of Mary Onyali-Omagbemi and others too numerous to mention, said in Lagos that such coaches still had much to offer the nation.
“Most of us that made athletics to thrive locally and internationally in the not too distant past have been abandoned.
“If I didn’t know what I was doing, would I have produced champions for the country?” he said.
Igwe, fondly called “Toblow” by admires, added that there were more Onyali-Omagbemi, Tina Iheagwam and Beatrice Utondu waiting to be discovered across the length and breadth of the nation.
The coach lamented that the South-Eastern states were no longer producing world class track and field athletes the way they used to do in the past because of the absence of dedicated grossroots coaches.
Igwe said that there was the need to organise regular capacity building programmes for athletes and coaches in the country to keep them abreast of the latest trends in their various disciplines.
“They shouldn’t ignore gifted coaches because talents differ, some of us just have the gift to nurture talents from the grassroots.
Igwe said that the authorities should always consider the interest of the sport rather than allow sectional interest to becloud their decisions,’’ he added.
He also urged the government to accord athletics the same level of recognition given to football to foster a sense of belonging for all the nation’s athletes.
NAN/ Jibril .O