In an exclusive interview with Cameroon-Info.Net, the triple world champion in boxing chronicles the woes of Cameroonian athletes in Rio.
Cameroonian athletes return from Brazil without any medal, according to you what went wrong?
You know the Olympics bring together the best of the world. Aiming medal, especially in combat sports like judo, wrestling, boxing etc requires a specific preparation, at least four years of preparation and a chance in the draw. Unfortunately, that was not the case for Cameroonian athletes.
We had only one month of preparation to confront the athletes from other countries who were preparing for the same competition for 4 years. Some Cameroonian athletes have made their upgrade in the country and were not entitled to the privilege of the International scholarships and training camps. So we could only reap what we sowed.
On social networks, you promised to unleash things. What is it about exactly?
This is about the poor organization of officials of the Cameroonian delegation. It is disastrous what they did to the young athletes who represented the country in Rio. I was refereed to as an indiscipline because I was defending the interests of other athletes in our delegation. We left Rio without our bonuses.
How was your stay in Rio?
Not at all pleasant. I had experienced a difficult qualifying period in Venezuela, where I was doing my training course. The bill for my hotel in Venezuela has not been paid by the Olympic Committee. After my qualification, hotel managers retained our passports and demanded that we pay the bills of our rooms before leaving. It was frustrating for us.
Upon our arrival in Rio my coach was replaced by a certain Mr Manka allegedly sent by Mr. David Ojong (CNOSC general secretary and head of delegation of the Cameroon Team). I found that there were more tourists in the Cameroonian delegation to the Olympics than the coaches and athletes. The leaders of our delegation used the occasion as usual for traveling friends and family members at the expense of coaches and athletes.
Without accreditation to attend me for training me, my coach was not allowed in the restaurant or access to the battle in the corner of the ring. We threatened at one time to give up the Olympics. It surprises me that people were counting on me to have good results. I could not give my best in these conditions. It was really painful for me.
You accuse the officials of the Cameroonian delegation for not having handed over the bonuses to athletes in Brazil as planned. How much did you have to receive and how much have you received?
- Those responsible for the delegation promised us this:
- Participation bonuses in the qualifying tournament 500.000 francs CFA.
- Skill Bonuses 500,000 francs CFA.
- Training session bonuses $55 per day.
- Stay in Rio Bonuses 5000 CFA francs per day.
- Olympic participation Bonuses 4,000,000 CFA francs.
- Participation Bonuses which varied according to tours on stage.
To date, no athlete has received the qualification and training bonus. After my qualification I was in Yaounde for the reception of sports and I wanted to get my bonus in Yaounde before leaving for Rio. To date, officials of the Cameroonian delegation to the Olympic Games of Athens 2004 still owe me 1.5 million francs cfa for my Olympic bonus.
To calm me, Mr Ojong promised to wire me the money before I left for Rio. Unfortunately for me, that was not the case.
When I left Rio, I saw other Cameroonian athletes cry. They are certain that they will not have their bonuses.
In your opinion who are those officials who have misappropriated the bonuses of athletes?
For me, the only ones responsible for our diverted bonuses are officials of the Cameroonian delegation in collaboration with those of the CNOSC.
Do you have any regrets for having presented Cameroon at the Olympic Games Rio 2016?
Not at all. I am proud to have represented my country. As I said before, the only regret is that we worked in very difficult conditions, some athletes were not at all ready for lack of resources and finally, we got our misappropriated premiums.
Will you be part of the next Cameroonian delegation to the Olympics?
I already returned to France where I have to continue my professional career. I just signed a contract with a French promoter and the channel Canal +.
With Cameroon is another story because it remains my cradle and my origins. I do not forget where I come from. But do not be fooled the next time by the leaders of the delegation, I will watch-out carefully.