alt August 23 - Patrick Ekeji (pictured), the director general of Nigeria's National Sports Commission, has promised an improvement in the performance of the country's athletics team in London 2012.

He made his promise after Nigeria failed to win a medal at the World Championships, which finished in Berlin today, which he claimed was the result of lack of funding.

Ekeji said: "I believe we should have done better.

"Although this is a new administration, still we are concerned.

"All along, we had a vision to turn around this kind of trend in the sector.

"One of the methods we mapped was the setting up of new administration in each of the sports.

"So, we can say for now that this is a teething period for the boards; they need funds, we are constantly talking about the management of sports federations.

"Part of the innovation is the concession that we all witnessed; things can only get better.

"I want to assure you that we will turn around this trend."

Solomon Ogba, the former Delta State Commissioner for Sports, was elected as the new President of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria in May and said that there was said that there was a "need for a new vision, order and direction for athletics" in the country.

It is 10 years since Nigeria won a medal at the World Championships when, at Seville in 1999, Glory Alozie and Francis Obikwelu won silver and bronze in the women's 100 metres hurdles and men's 200m respectively before leaving their homeland to compete for Spain and Portugal after falling out with the AFN.

The poor showing of Nigeria, which is Africa's bigget country with a population of 148 million, is even worse because their continental rivals - Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa - all finished in the top ten in the overall medals table in Berlin.

Kenya, with a population of only 38 million, were the most successful African country, finishing third ahead of Russia with 11 medals, including four gold.

altThe latest performance is even more disappointing because the athletics team won two medals at the Olympics in Beijing last year, bronzes for long jumper Blessing Okagbare (pictured) and the women's 4x100m relay team.

Ekeji said: "As for what happened in Berlin, let me repeat that this is not the type of results we want, and we know that we can do better.

"For instance, the president of AFN, in the short period he has being in charge, has had to bend over backwards to ensure that things get done.

"Mostly, the federation has raised its own fund; the approvals we have given to them are less than 100 per cent.

"They have not even been able to get the money but they will get it.

"But in spite of all of that, the federation has done its best to ensure that it hosted the Grand Prix and the Mobil National Championships.

"The sponsorship from Mobil is nothing to write home about if you talk about sponsorship in the real sense of the word.

"AFN are not having the best of times right now, financially."

Athletes attending Nigeria's pre-Championships training camp had been promised a daily allowance of $100 (£60) but were upset when officials refused to pay the full amount because they claimed the team were not due the money until the event started.

The Nigerian team were also hit by a series of drugs scandals, including Amaka Ogoegbunam, a 400m hurdler, testing positive for banned anabolic steroids at the team's training camp.

Earlier, Vivian Chukwuemeka, the 2002 Commonwealth Games shot put champion , and 100m runner Gloria Kemasuode had also been sent home from the camp for returning positive A-samples at the Nigerian trials in Abuja last month.

All three are now facing bans of up to two years.

Ekeji said: “AFN should sanction accordingly, any erring athlete found guilty of dope offence.

"Nigeria is not prepared to win tainted medals.

"Winning is not a do or die matter."