Two Bahrain athletes of Nigerian descent Abass Abubakar and Musa Isah have given reasons for changing their nationalities.
The athletes, who represented Bahrain in the mixed 4x400m at the ongoing World Championships in Doha, Qatar, said they were not recognised in Nigeria.
Abubabakr decried inadequate support for Nigerian athletes and urged the Nigerian government to protect their athletes.
He told MoC, “Running for another country is different, especially for Nigerians. There are a lot of things that made us change nationality. Running for Bahrain is something good for me. If I was still in Nigeria, maybe by now I will no longer be running.
“We could have made Nigeria proud too but if we were in Nigeria, I don’t think we can reach this level. I don’t need to be telling you what is happening there. You already know. I think it is a big achievement that we are all Nigerians representing Bahrain and doing all these things.
“This is to show that our people can do more, they don’t need to go and take people who are in other countries to represent Nigeria. We have our own best and do more. They only need support and good amenities for training. They should stop tribalism. Other countries also have different languages but you can’t see them fight over being Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo.
“We need support to make it together. When I was a Nigerian, nobody cared about me. Nobody looked after me. I know the condition that I was faced with; I know what is going on.”
On his part, Musa narrated how he faced disappointments as a Nigerian athlete.
He said, “For every disappointment, there is a blessing. When I was in Nigeria, they see me as… I don’t know what to call it. My experience in Bahrain? It has not been easy, but it has also been easy in some ways. In everything, there’s always an advantage and a disadvantage.”