Athletes, AFN disagree over conditions at London trials
The opening day of the 2017 National athletics trials in Abuja yesterday witnessed series of complaints, with majority of the athletes carpeting the Sports Ministry and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) for providing what they termed mosquito-infested hostels for them instead of camping them in hotels as was the practice in the past.
The Secretary General of the AFN, Amaechi Akawo has denied the allegations, saying the competitors were accommodated at Blossom Hotel in Zone 5 area of Abuja as well as the High Performance Center.
“Whoever that is complaining we accommodated the athletes in mosquito-infested hostels is not saying the truth,” Akawo said in a chat with The Guardian. “We followed the normal practice by taking some of the athletes to Blossom Hotel in Zone 5, while others are being accommodated at the High Performance Centre. What people should understand is that the board of the AFN is not in place yet, and the sports ministry should be commended for taking this step.”
Another major issue at the on-going 2017 national trials yesterday was the absence of key athletes, including US-based sprinter, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor
The presence of former 100m champion, Obinna Metu, Ogho-Oghene Egwero, and defending champion Seye Ogunlewe, could not light up the Abuja stadium yesterday.
“What we are seeing here is like a glorified primary school inter house sports,” one athletics fan told The Guardian. “To me, this national trials should have been merged with the Warri Relays and CAA meet in Ozoro, Delta State.”