Etim Bassey: Struggling former Olympian gets help from community

Etim Bassey: Struggling former Olympian gets help from community

- Etim Bassey who is popularly known as "Iron Bar" was a famous weightlifter whose career ended when he burst a muscle at the 1984 Olympics

- Before his injury, he had won several laurels for the country at different competitions such as the African Weightlifting Competition in Egypt and the 1981 National Sports Festival

- Etim's finance took a deadly blow when the Nigerian government would not take care of his injuries and he had to foot his medical bills with his savings in America

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The story of former Nigerian Olympian, Iron Bar Etim Bassey, always wrenches the heart whenever it is told.

His career as a promising sportsman ended during the 1984 Olympics when he had a torn muscle while lifting weight.

Before his career decline, he won a gold medal at the National Sports Festival in 1981. He proceeded to win three gold medals in African Weightlifting Competition in Egypt. He also won bronze at the Commonwealth Championship in 1982.

What really dealt the Olympian a big blow was that he had to use his life savings to take care of his injury in America after the government that he represented failed to do so.

Over time, Bassey has been giving himself to community service. He said he never allowed what his country did to him stop his passion for selfless service.

Every day, he wakes up as early as 4 am to fix his community road so that people are not held up in traffic that could make them miss work or get home late.

Since his famed sporting career ended, he has been doing menial jobs just to make ends meet. Not only that, he struggles with housing too.

Nothing could be worse than a person who once represented his country living on the street. Thanks to the goodwill of those who donated to his welfare, he now has a place to stay.

The community is also planning on setting him up so he does not have to go back to his former pitiable condition.

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