We’re building Nigerian athletics from scratch, says AFN boss
• Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Targets IAAF Gold Label
President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau has declared that his administration would have to re-build the nation’s track and field from the scratch because “we have lost athletics.” He spoke on Thursday during a press conference to herald the 2018 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
Gusau, who took over from Chief Solomon Ogba, following his election during the sports federations’ polls on June 13, said in Lagos that he had already set machinery in motion to rebuild athletics in the country.
“We know where Nigerian athletics used to be, but we lost it,” he said. “Now, we are doing everything possible to put it back. Part of my acceptance speech, when I took over was to go to the grassroots. And very soon, Nigerians will see a brand new AFN and best athletics the world will be proud of,” Gusau stated.
The AFN boss praised Lagos State government, sponsors and organisers of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, assuring that his administration would give it the backing it need to become the best road race in the world.
The chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Deji Tinubu, who represented Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, said the state would continue to back the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon. “This is one event that has put Lagos on the world map and we will continue to provide the enabling environment for the marathon race.
Also speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer/Group Managing Director of Access Bank plc, Herbert Wigwe disclosed that the race billed for February 10, 2018 would be bigger than last year’s edition. “I have been told that over 100,000 runners will take part in this year’s edition. I am happy the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon has been given the IAAF Bronze Label, and our target is to get the Gold Label as quickly as possible. When we started two years ago, people were asking what we intended to get from this project, but today, I am happy that the race is rated as one of the best in the world,” Wigwe stated.
Project Consultant, Bukola Olopade as well as General Manager of the marathon, Yusuf Ali said that a 10km race, which has been added to the event is opened to any individual resided in Nigeria regardless of their nationality.
“We approved the 10km race for next year marathon, and this will bring more excitement to the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon,” Olopade stated. “We are very grateful to GAC Motors for the two cars they have donated for the winners of the men and women’s 10km races.”
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