Sydney 2000 Olympic silver medallists, Ruth Ogbeifo-Balofin, says she hold no grudge against anyone for not being nominated among the 60 Nigerian Sports Icon.
This follows the unveiling of the 60 Nigerian Sports Icon at an event which took place at the Velodrome of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja, on Friday.
Ogbeifo-Balofin said despite winning laurels for the country at the World Weightlifting Championship, she also became the first African woman to win a medal in the weightlifting event at the Olympics.
“I hold no grudge not being among the 60 Nigerian Sports Icon, but, it is painful to know that after spending 8 hours everyday while training, getting injured and recovering, becoming an All African Games Champion, African Champion, World Champion and Olympic Silver medallist, my country (Nigeria) will choose not to recognize my efforts among their sports Icon”.
“For record purpose, I am not only a Champion in my sport, I have also produced African Games Champions in weightlifting through my Ruth Ogbeifo-Balofin Community Project (ROBCOP) in Offa, Kwara state”.
“If my country decided not to honour me, I know God in heaven will honour me”.
“The Interesting thing is that I get treated like a queen overseas whenever they know I won a medal at the Olympics. But, in Nigeria, I will have to lobby to get things done”.
The former World Champion added that she will not be discouraged to impact positively on the lives of the less privileged athletes in Nigeria.
“This award opened my eyes to so many things in the country. I will focus on how to impact positively on the lives of athletes who cannot afford to train outside the country”.
“I know some day, people who will appreciate my efforts and sacrifices for Nigeria will come”.
Ruth Ogbeifo-Balofin lifted 245kg, which was same as Colombian Maria Urrutia who won the gold medal because of her lower body weight at the 2000 Sydney Olympics
The Nigerian missed the gold medal in the 75kg by the slightest of technical margins.