The Olympics should be more inclusive

I can see heads nodding all around, especially after you look at the Medals table. USA with over 80, Britain and China over 50 and not a single African country in the top ten. Why? I’ll tell you. It’s because of all these elite sports some of whose names I can’t even pronounce.

I can see heads nodding all around, especially after you look at the Medals table. USA with over 80, Britain and China over 50 and not a single African country in the top ten. Why? I’ll tell you. It’s because of all these elite sports some of whose names I can’t even pronounce.

Time to make the Olympics more inclusive. Eliminate those sports exclusive to certain countries and replace them with universal sports. Admittedly, football, basketball, boxing and several track and field events are widely practiced around the world so that’s a good thing but some of these other sports like equestrian, water polo, trampoline and fencing (no offence to those who love these sports) should either be scrapped or the Olympic Organizing Committee should come up with a way to open up the field and by that I mean, set up facilities around the world and welcome interested athletes. 

 

Avail trainers at these facilities to give all participants a fair shot and in four years, whoever qualifies can then represent their native country. It’s not that hard and can be done. 

 

The same way some marathon runners from Europe have travelled to Ethiopia and Kenya to train is the same way athletes from countries lacking these facilities should be helped otherwise Africa will continue to trail in the medal count. 

 

Just look at swimming with a string of events that I’m sure African swimmers would excel at if we had the right training and facilities but currently, we don’t stand a chance. 

I don’t know anyone who has a pool at their house. If you want even a leisurely swim, you have to go to a gym or hotel somewhere and it’s not cheap for the average African. 

Compare that to the developed world where ordinary people have their own pools and their kids have been swimming for years. Then there’s gymnastics, one of my favourite events and yet I may never get to see an African win gold in gymnastics. My final thought on this year’s Olympics is that I wish our African athletes were more focused. 

There’s a lot of potential and I honestly believe they could have won more medals and I don’t mean to sound too critical but the Olympics are just a little over two weeks long. 

You cannot train for four years and then allow yourself to get distracted for whatever reason. We had not one but two boxers arrested on sexual assault accusations. Like really? If they had won gold or any medal for that matter, girls would be throwing themselves at them back home and instead, they may never get to compete again. 

I’m also disappointed but not really shocked that one Kenyan official went to such great lengths to get a free breakfast! I mean I know many of us have “struggle” breakfasts, usually just a cup of black tea and bread or something while some don’t even have that, and I imagine an Olympic breakfast is bound to be sumptuous probably with eggs, bacon, sausage, milk, juice, fruit and all that but still, going as far as impersonating an athlete and even giving a urine sample? 

That official sure must have been hungry. One question though, aren’t coaches and officials entitled to free meals? Going forward, I think Sports authorities need to do a better job of vetting officials representing their countries on the international stage. We can’t have these incidents making the headlines when the spotlight should be on our athletes.

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