Olympic Qualifiers: Team Nigeria boxers turn to beggars in Thailand

..Send SOS to Sports Minister

Team Nigeria boxers at the ongoing final Olympic Games qualifiers in Bangkok, Thailand have cried out to the Sports Minister over their suffering in the South East Asian country which has turned them to beggars with an appeal to the Minister to as a matter of urgency come to their rescue

The team made up of one male and four female boxers under the guidance of two coaches have been in Thailand since May, 20 for the qualifiers which ends on Sunday, June 2, 2024 but they’re lamenting that they don’t even have money to buy ordinary water or food and now depend on the benevolence of contingents from other countries for survival.

A member of the team who spoke to on condition of anonymity decried a situation where only $ 200 was given to the coaches with each pugilist getting $100 which was grossly inadequate to sustain them throughout the duration of the qualifiers considering the high cost of living in the host country.

“I want you to help us tell the Honourable Minister of Sports Development that we’re really suffering here at the qualifiers and this accounted to why only two of us; Patricia Mbata and Zainab Adeshina made it to the quarter-finals.

” Our problem started immediately we left Nigeria with Turkish Airways on May, 19. We left the country without any allowance and spent about 10 hours in Istanbul, Turkey waiting for a connecting flight to Bangkok without any food or water and we know we’re going to pass through the same ordeal while coming back to Nigeria and that’s why we’re speaking out now”, stated the pugilist.

” When the Secretary General of the Federation handed over the paltry allowance to us, he promised that efforts are being made for more funds to be sent to us but 24 hours to the end of the qualifiers, we’ve not gotten any other money or any information to that effect. Right now, we’ve exhausted the cash with us and our situation now is very pathetic”, the member lamented.

According to the member of the team,, this has been a reoccurring decimal in the qualifiers because when some boxers went for Olympic qualifiers in Senegal last year, no allowance was given to the coaches and boxers which does not help in the development of the game in the country.

” This practice has been there for long because even when our boxers participated in last year’s qualifiers in Senegal, they went there without any allowance but only got promises that they’ll be paid later which the Sports Ministry has not done till now.

” Right now, out of a contingent of 13 made up of 10 boxers and 3 coaches that participated in the qualifiers in Senegal, only two boxers and a coach have received their bonuses, leaving out the rest.

” So we’re worried that the same fate might befall us and that’s why we’re calling on the Sports Minister to urgently look into our case and ensure we don’t turn to fugitives in Thailand at the end of the qualifiers.

” It’s equally important to inform you that our accommodation will expire 12 noon Monday which means that after checking out of our rooms, we’ll be hanging out for about 11 hours without food or water, since our flight to Turkey is by 11pm Thailand’s time and so we don’t know how to cope with the situation without money and that’s why we are making this appeal for urgent help to come to the team

The team member noted that the Sports Minister being a visionary leader who has introduced a lot of reforms aimed at improving the welfare of athletes since his assumption of office should look into their plight and ensure that all their outstanding allowances are paid.

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