In this interview, Blessing Okagbare says even without a medal, London was by far better than Rio for her and other ladies in Team Nigeria. She spoke to Punch’s Pius Ayinor.
How was Rio 2016 generally like for you?
It didn’t feel like an Olympic for me but not because I didn’t win a medal. This is my third Olympics and I have been to Olympics that everything was so cheerful and the athletes were very happy.
But for this Rio, I don’t know about other people in Team Nigeria as I’m speaking for myself, the morale was just low. Some of the girls come to me and we talk. Some times when they say these things (about how bad they feel), I just feel like these people feel the same way I feel. Everything about Rio was just low. This is the worst Olympics we’ve had.
Was it about the preparations?
Prior to coming here was bad, I don’t understand what they wanted us to do in Rio. At times you go to other countries, mix with the athletes and you see a people getting quality support. But it’s not so with the Nigerian contingent. It comes to a point where you just try to do everything for the sake of your passion as well as for your fans.
How long will you keep running; how long are we going to see you actively on the tracks?
There are certain things that if you were doing them for other countries, you would have been far better than what you are now but with Nigeria it’s like an advanced labour issue.
You do it but it’s like you don’t see what you work for. I’m sponsored by Nike and it’s a job for me, it’s a career. I do have a lot of setback, which has affected me for two years in a row but I might take a break and people won’t even see that. I don’t know how many more years I really want to stay on for.
I have not taken any break yet, and people don’t see that I have been going hard every year. I might take a break and come back hopefully before 2020.