Experience is key in most spheres of life and that’s why it took less time for former 800,1500 and 3000 steeplechase champion, Tobias Igwe to determine the faster of the two, male or female while developing an athlete.
Igwe is well known to have groomed notable names in Nigeria which includes Chief Mary Onyali, Clement Chukwu, Henrietta Ajaegbu, Uche Emedolu amongst others. An authority in athletics, he understands why females have quicker development than the males.
The former steeplechase champion explained the rationale behind it during his recent chat with ACLSports.
“Female athletes tend to improve very fast. If you discover a female athlete, in two or three years time she can start running fast at the world stage but it would take the male athletes 4 or 5 years,” Igwe said
“The standard of the men is also very high in athletics than women. A woman can start with 11.08 seconds this year and next year she can run 11.03 seconds, 11.02 seconds, 11.01 seconds but the men if he runs 10.5 seconds this year it might take him another two years to run 10.09 seconds.
Toblow as he is fondly called blamed the coaches as part of the reasons why the male athletes fail to do well at international championships.
“There is a lot of innovation most of our coaches are not following. There are new methods which a coach must be up to date with to know the modern techniques, equipments inorder for his athletes to rub shoulder with the world class athletes.”
“At the moment, Cote’d Ivore is leading Africa that means we are not doing well playing second fiddle to the Ivorians and South Africans. We ought to dominate, we have better athletes, with fast muscles and experienced than these other countries but we are not going forward at all,” Igwe decried
“The problem is we are not focusing on developemental programme,” he lamented
The 64 year old highlighted areas young coaches have failed to exploit to get the best in an athlete especially the male athletes.
“They have about six or seven things to work on they should not focus on only endurance, but on speed, power, flexibility, reaction, strength and if you can’t develop on all these, then I am sorry they can’t rub shoulders with other athletes in the world.”
“In addition, coaches fail to request for the necessary equipment to work with in camp they allow their athletes to just keep running. One way to make our young coaches do well is to attach them to the older ones so they would help them get better.”
Toblow was appointed technical director at the National Athletics Development Centre in Ondo State in December and has been mandated to train future athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.