Igbere TV reports that Onwuka, a recipient of several gold medals, said he was forced to travel by land (instead of air) to represent Nigeria in an all-important game in neighboring Niger republic.
He also alleged that officials of the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development deleted his name from the list of contingents to represent Nigeria in the Morocco All African Games 2019.
Onwuka, who had represented the country in several competition, won a gold medal in Niger during the recently held ECOWAS senior championship in Discos.
This is even as the Nigerian champion, popularly called ‘Scorpion’, missed out in the shot put as a result of his late arrival after being forced to take the road.
Speaking with Igbere TV in Umuahia, on Wednesday, the gold medalist expressed regret that after risking his life from Kaduna to Niger to represent the country, where he won a medal, he was delisted for the games in Morocco.
He said he left Niger at about 5am by road, adding that he and other athletes were shot by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists, on their way back before they finally arrived Nigeria at about 11pm.
Onwuka who has been throwing shot put since 2012 said he has won several medals for the country in many local and international sporting events, expressing dissatisfaction with the unfair treatment meted to him by his fatherland.
His words, “On the 7th of July, 2019, I attended the National Camp Kaduna, where Nigeria played for the All African Games qualifiers.
“On the 25th (July), the Coaches brought us to represent Nigeria in far away Niger but we were not taken care of. We went through road instead of flying amid fears of Boko Haram terrorists, Herdsmen.
“Unfortunately, I missed the event. It was a sad one and annoying experience. When I returned to Nigeria, I discovered that my name was no longer among the players for the All African Games holding in Morocco.
“After I missed the (shot put) event in Niger, I switched to Discos to represent Nigeria where I won a gold medal.
“We left Niger as early as 5am by road and arrived Nigeria at about 11, 12 midnight using land transport and a rickety bus.
“On our way back, we encountered some heavily armed men who tried stopping our vehicle but the driver refused to stop. They shot at our vehicle severally but we managed to escape unhurt, with minor injuries.
“We were about nine athletes in the vehicle, no official of the Ministry (of Sports) nor Health Worker was with us, neither did we have any emergency response team.
“We were given forty thousand naira (N40,000) allowance each, which served as our transport fare to and fro Kaduna to Niger. That is the only allowance given to all athletes till date.
“I really feel bad that after risking my life to and fro Niger and despite my outing and performance, I was delisted for the All African Games 2019 holding in Morocco.
“I don’t have anybody in the Ministry (of Youths and Sports Development), I have been playing and defending Nigeria since 2012.
“I have won several awards and many gold medals for the country. I just want the right thing to be done. I want the authorities to come to my aid, I really want to participate in the games and defend my country”, he added
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