Sport  |  Athletics  

Athletes may boycott ‘autonomous’ body’s competition in Ozoro

By Gowon Akpodonor |   11 February 2020   |   4:20 am  

Nigeria’s team celebrate winnning the women’s 4x400m relay of the African Athletics Championships at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State in midwestern Nigeria, on August 5, 2018. All is set for the All Comers event in Akure, Ondo State. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP

There are strong indications that the athletics competition scheduled for Ozoro, Delta State this week may not meet its set objectives, as a majority of the athletes have reportedly turned their back on it to avoid the wrath of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

The AFN, under the leadership of Olamide George, is organising the All-Comers event in Akure between February 14 and 15 for the athletes to kick start their preparations for the season.

At the same period, another set of people, who broke away from the AFN last year, have scheduled an event for Ozoro, Delta State.

The Guardian learnt yesterday that a majority of the athletes, who had earlier showed interest in attending the event in Ozoro, have backed down, including athletes from the host state, Team Delta.

A source told The Guardian yesterday that Athletics Associations from about 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have indicated their willingness to be available in Akure, Ondo State capital for the All Comers event, the first for the year, which is designed to bring life back into the sport that has suffered from maladministration in recent years.

Contacted yesterday, a top official of Delta Sports Commission confirmed that their athletes would not show up in Ozoro. “We can’t be part of such an illegal competition, and there is no way our athletes will be in Ozoro.”

Meanwhile, the AFN is said to have marshaled out plans to ban athletes and states that take part in the Ozoro competition from participating in the fast approaching Edo 2020 National Sports Festival.

An official hinted yesterday that the body would dispatch a monitoring team to Ozoro to pencil down the names of athletes and states that show up for the competition with the view of excluding them from the sports festival in Edo state.

The official stated that the All Comers in Akure would be filled with fun. “We have secured the venue and will provide accommodation for athletes based on last year’s performance. There will be no prize money for it because it is an All-Comers affair. But there will be prize money for the first AFN Classics in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State on February 28.”

The Guardian recalled that Olamide George became AFN president following the impeachment of Ibrahim Gusau last month in Abuja.

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