Ikechukwu Okoronkwo, a former international Nigerian boxer, has urged governments at all levels to separate politics from sports to allow the growth of the sport both domestically and internationally.

Okoronkwo, who gave the advice in Enugu on Wednesday, said sports should be left to technocrats.

He said that the situation for sports and boxing in particular was not encouraging because many people who did not understand the sport were part of the administration.

“Some even went so far as to manipulate the technical side of sports when they entered through political means.

“They will even be among the technical team, directing things and that is why the athletes had not done well in the competitions.

“If technical team administrators don’t understand the rudiments of sports, athletes can’t do well or succeed in their sports career,” he said.

Okoronkwo suggested a way forward for sports in Nigeria, saying that the government should involve people who have passion and know the rudiments of sports.

“I think the way to go is to get people involved who really have a passion and know the rudiments of the game.

“People who have seen it all in their endeavor sports can impact the rules, regulations and tactics on young people,” the boxer said.

He noted that a boxer’s life after retirement is enjoyable if it is well planned, and urged boxers to plan for their future while active.

“The life of a retired boxer is pleasant if it is well planned and boring when it is not well planned because the boxer will become a beggar.

“A boxer or sports personnel must plan their life well after the games, since the periods of sports activity are limited.

“Athletes need to invest and save a lot, so the government must pay more attention to their well-being.

“I know that sports will grow with the right managers and technical team, followed by well-packaged wellness,” Okoronkwo said. (YAYA)