Sports Minister, Sunday Dare has been hailed over his determined move to resuscitate long distance running in Nigeria after years of neglect.
Professor Ezra Gunnen, a former national steeplechase record holder and World Athletics certified lecturer said the Sports Minister has shown uncommon political will to see that long distance runners in Nigeria get the required training, exposure and opportunity to compete locally and internationally.
“Before now, middle and long distance development have never been a focus of any administration since the time of Group Commander Anthony Ikhazobor,” he said and believes developing long distance programmes would provide outlets that will redirect the energy of youths into positive ventures of self development and a source of pride to the nation, region and community.
“Failure to develop the potentials in youths is causing them to depend on government for everything and when it’s not forthcoming, they join all sorts of groups,” said Gunnen.
‘’Prosecuting the projects requires the will power of the Sports Ministry to channel resources in the right direction once and for all. Once developed, sponsors and organisations interested in specific athletes will take over,” he said but warned the results of the project will not be immediate.
‘’Developing distance runners requires time, at least one and a half years of good training, recovery and competition. It is attainable but as a research trial project unto the hands of few coaches,” he added.