US-based athletes’ set to boycott Olympics trails over unpaid All African Games allowance

US-based athletes’ set to boycott Olympics trails over unpaid All African Games allowance

As the build-up to the 2024 Olympics continues a good number of US-based Nigerian athletes say their participation at the National Championships is in doubt following the Sports Ministry’s delay in payment of their African Games allowances.

Two months after the African Games in Accra, Ghana a good number of these athletes are yet to receive their daily allowance, the $3000 gold, $2000 silver, and $1000 bronze rewards promised to the athletes by the Sports Minister, John Enoh.

A foreign-based athlete who spoke to Metro Mainland News in a chat, none of them have been paid a dime.

“We are in a difficult position to come for the national trials if we don’t get our allowances and other monies owed us.

“Some of us have borrowed money to book a flight ticket and some others are banking on their parents to help them with the funds they need to travel down,” said the athlete.

This is the first time athlete's allowances would be delayed, sports ministry officials said the holdup, was caused by issues with the Central Bank of Nigeria based on the personal banking details of the athletes sent to it. Perhaps the Sports Ministry ahead of future events should cast their mind back to the era of Al Hassan Yakmut during his time in the Ministry. At the Congo African Games in 2015, athletes' allowances and other dues were settled on the spot. But now the reverse is the case.

Commenting on the development US-based throw coach Gabriel Opuana urged the Sports Ministry to expedite action on the payments of the athletes' allowances and refunds that have been left hanging.

“All we can do is appeal to the Sports Minister to act fast on this issue. So that the athletes can feel his impact.

“This is an Olympic year and we need to motivate these athletes so that they can give their best performances. It is worrying, the fact that they have not been paid their allowances, and even training grants that should have been settled at the beginning of the year are still not available.”

However, technical assistant to the Sports Minister, Sunday Adeleye said that the delay was caused by some issues within the banking system.

“Everything has been sorted out and hopefully this week all the outstanding allowances will be cleared.

“It is not just the foreign-based athletes, everyone was affected including the officials, thankfully it has now been resolved.”