• Sports - Other Sports
  • Updated: May 15, 2020

THROWBACK: How $15, 000 Approved By AFN For Francis Obikwelu's Surgery Disappeared (Video)


This week's AllNews Sports' Throwback takes us to 2001, and it concerns Francis Obikwelu.

Obikwelu is a retired Nigerian-born Portuguese sprinter, who specialised in 100 metres and 200 metres.

The 41-year-old is a former Nigerian record holder in the men’s 200m, and Portugal’s 100m Olympic Silver Medallist (2004 in Athens, Greece).

Basically, Obikwelu represented his motherland, Nigeria until 2001, when he made the switch to his adopted country, Portugal.

Prior to his switch to the European nation, Obikwelu had already enjoyed quite a measure of success in Nigerian colours – he won a World Championship bronze medal in the 200m in Seville, Spain in 1999.

He is tied with Jimmy Vicaut as a European record holder in the men’s 100m with his Personal Best (PB) of 9.86s.

Apart from his involvement in sprinting, Obikwelu is a businessman and has a company that he manages, which produces interior décor and a host of other things. The Onitsha, Anambra native is also a farmer.

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Corruption has been an age-long problem in Africa's most populous black nation. And in this story, you'll see the causative factor of Obikwelu switching nationalities post-Sydney 2000 Olympics after Nigeria failed him.

"I was injured in Sydney (2000 Olympics)," Obikwelu told Making of Champions in 2013 (video from 1:45 to 2:52 below in the first clip).

"It was a kind of disappointment for me representing a country, running, and I was injured in the competition.

"I told the Federation (Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN) I needed some money to go for operation in Canada and it would cost me like $15, 000 because it was a major operation.

"Unfortunately, they did approve the money, but they don't know where the money was. That was the funny part of it.

"They said the money was approved, somebody signed it but they don't know who had the money.

"So, I came back home, applied for my nationality, so after two months, it was approved."

He continued: "Nigeria called me that they want me to come back running for them - whatever the Portuguese are giving me.

"I say it is not about money; its about respect. That's what I need.

"Portugal doesn't have money, it's a poor country, but they respect me."

Watch the videos below:



NB: Making of Champions' was in 2013, while Channels Television's was in September 2015.

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Ridwan Yusuf
Ridwan Yusuf

Ridwan is a trained Communicator who provides professional coverage of general news and sports. ...

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