Abbas Mohammed, a well-known name in athletics, was once considered one of the best athletes of the 1980s and 1990s. He set many records and gained a name both in the world of sports and in his Nigeria. Today, he is the director of sports in Nigeria, in the Nigerian Army.
He believes that today's sport is much different than it used to be and that now athletes have much better conditions than before “When I was running, the World Record (WR) in marathon was 2.06.50 held by Ethiopia’s Belayneh Dinsamo.
And my time then was 2,16:06, which I set in Lagos on September 11, 1990. If I had a sponsor then, and competed regularly around the world, I would have returned a better time and competed for the World Record”. , as quoted by guardian He believes that athletes should be supported and that they should fight for their future on their own “We don’t plan in Nigeria, and that is killing our sports.
That is why I always encourage our athletes, particularly the marathoners, not to wait for what somebody will do for them. If you continue to wait, you won’t go anywhere in your career”.
There was not so much money in his time
"I didn’t make much money from marathon races.
What I gained was the fame and nothing more”. He believes that the maiden Kaduna half marathon should have the support of the authorities because such a marathon is necessary to spread the awareness of people in Nigeria how important athletics is and how necessary “With this initiative by Kaduna State government, I see a situation where the culture of marathon races will spread rapidly to other northern parts of Nigeria.
It will lead to the revival of our sports industry. The athletes should start their training now. I am also appealing to other state governors and political leaders in Nigeria to take a cue from what Governor El Rufai has done.
This will go a long way in arresting unemployment, youth restiveness, as well as solve the problems of criminality across the country. “Even if they don’t have the resources to organise a full marathon with global elite athletes in attendance, they can organise five or 10 kilometre road races, cross country races and the half marathon.
The corporate bodies should key into it as well. In my days, I made that national record in 1990 because of the Milo marathon that took place every week”.