Danjuma Kopkuddi of Nigerian Immigration Service has blamed the weather and inadequate accommodation for his poor performance in the men's 5,000m on Friday at the 21st Nigeria/Mobil/NNPC Track and Field Championships in Calabar, Cross River State.
Kopkuddi, who had won the silver medal in the 10,000 metres on Thursday, dropped out of the final race after running 3,400 metres, leaving Williams Kefas to win the eight-man final in 15 minutes, 52.59 seconds.
After failing to finish the final race at the at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, he said his legs failed to carry him on because he felt numb.
The Plateau-born athlete told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) he could have done better if the conditions had been better than what he met in Calabar.
He said: "I did well yesterday, finishing second in the longer race with a time of 31 minutes 28.05 seconds, but I didn't have a good evening and I just couldn't cope today.
"I was feeling cold yesterday evening with this kind of cold weather here and my situation was worsened by not having a good place to sleep."
"I am here managing in a small and congested room with some friends," he added.
The athlete said he was prepared for the race based on his record in the long distance races, and pointed out that the weather generally affected his performances.
"I am not making up excuses for my poor performance, but I could have done better if things are not like the way they are here.
"This is not my first Mobil and I have been winning before. I was on 29 seconds after 200 metres, but with about four laps to go, I just discovered I couldn't pick fast and my body couldn't do better and I felt the best thing was to drop out,'' he said.
Kopkuddi said he had attended the Mobil event in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009, and had won the event in the first three editions and the silver in 2009.
"Last year I came second with 14 minutes and 45 seconds, and the winner, John Bulus who came third today, was on 14:41, but today the winner is on 15:52.
"This shows that the times are poor this time around and I know it is the weather that has affected us generally," he said.
Kopkuddi, who also came second in the 10,000 metres event last year at the Mobil championships in Abuja, however, refused to blame the situation on the fact that most of the athletes in the 5,000 metres race were in the 10,000 metres race about 24 hours earlier.
"It is not the short gap in-between the two races. I used to run two or three events at the same Mobil. This cannot be different if not for the weather and the accommodation problems," he noted.