AFN Classic in Ado Ekiti thrills Fasuba, Ojokolo
Former Nigerian sprinters, Olusoji Fasuba and Endurance Ojokolo were thrilled by the performance of home-based athletes, who competed at the AFN Classics held at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium in Ado Ekiti at the weekend. The duo described the event as the best thing to happen to the nation’s athletics in recent years.
Fasuba, who hails from Ekiti State, is the current African record holder in 100m with the 9.85 seconds he set in Doha in 2006. He was part of Team Nigeria’s 4×100 relay team that grabbed a bronze medal at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. The same year, Fasuba won the 100m gold at the African Championships. He grabbed a silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games behind Asafa Powell, and was the indoor world champion over 60 metres in 2008, becoming the first African to complete the feat.
On her part, Ojokolo won the National and African 100m titles on several occasions, including Tunisia 2002 African Championships and at Brazzaville, Congo in 2004. She also won the sprint gold at the Afro-Asia Games in 2003, as well as helping Team Nigeria to top the medals table at Abuja 2003 COJA Games by winning the 4x100m relay gold medal after placing second behind Mary Onyali in a tight 100m race.
Speaking with The Guardian at the end of the AFN Classics, Fasuba said he was excited by the performance displayed by the athletes. “I am really thrilled going by the high level performance of the athletes. This is their second race of the year, and majority of the athletes were able to come up with such great records. I see a different Nigerian athletics team at the Tokyo Olympics Games, if the Federal Government played its part well by giving the athletes the preparation they deserve,” Fasuba stated.
Fasuba, who came from his base in the United Kingdom to add colour to the AFN Classics, later presented cash and certificates to the athletes who came tops at the event.
Ojokolo led some athletes to compete at the AFN Classics and was equally thrilled by their performances. In particular, Ojokolo praised the leadership of the AFN, led by Olamide George, for what she described as a big ‘turn around’ for Nigerian athletics.
“This is the real AFN Classics we attended in our days,” the Sapele-born sprinter said. “I can now see that the future is very bright for our athletics.”The two-day athletics event in Ado Ekiti was the second competition for Nigerian athletes this year after an All-Comers event held in Akure, Ondo State three weeks ago.
Unlike the Akure event, top four finishers in Ado Ekiti smiled home with various cash prizes ranging from N15, 000 to N40, 000 in the premium category, while top four competitors in the Classics events went home with N20,000, N15,000, N10,000 and N7,500.