Athletes to face major test in Abuja, Awka
• AFN’s Trials For Home-based Stars Ends In Lagos
To assemble a formidable athletics squad for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, Team Nigeria has concluded plans to stage two more athletics trials for home-based stars in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and Awka, Anambra State.
The Second All-Comers Competition, which was organised by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), to select home-based athletes to camp ahead of the Africa Senior Athletics Championship in Mauritius ended at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, yesterday with the athletes showing classic feats.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, the Coordinator of Team Nigeria for the Commonwealth Games, Chairman of the Edo State Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli, stated that there was the need to further test the athletes’ ability so as to get the best legs for the Commonwealth Games in England.
“This AFN’s trials are basically for home-based athletes,” Alli said. “Some of our top athletes are not in Nigeria at the moment. What we have agreed to do before inviting athletes to camp is to compete in two more races in Abuja and Awka. The one in Abuja will hold between May 12 and 13, while the Akwa leg will hold on May 21. With that, I am sure we will be able to assemble the best crop of track and field stars before the AFN National Trials ahead of the Commonwealth Games in England.”
Alli, who was the captain of Team Nigeria in two consecutive Olympic Games in 1984 and 1988, is expected to bring his experiences as a former athlete and his expertise as an administrator to bear on Nigeria’s participation at the Commonwealth Games.
He will, in collaboration with the Sports Ministry, coordinate and ensure the success of Team Nigeria by working as a bridge between the athletes, Federations and the Ministry, to ensure there is synergy in the team.
Nigeria finished in 9th place at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, winning nine Gold, nine Silver and six Bronze medals. Nigeria’s best performance ever was in Victoria, Canada in 1994, where she won eleven Gold, thirteen Silver and thirteen Bronze medals to finish 4th.
Meanwhile, some of the home-based athletes were able to prove themselves at the AFN’s trials concluded yesterday at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos.
Sprinter, Kanyinsola Ajayi, stunned all the favourites in men’s 100m Final A, set a new Personal Best of 10.26second to win the race ahead of Idjesa Uruemu and Nicholas Fakorede.
Another veteran athlete, Ogho-Oghene Egwero, competed alongside Seye Ogunlewe in the men’s 100m final B. While Ogunlewe won the race in 10.27seconds, Egwero settled for 2nd place with a Season’s Best of 10.28seconds ahead of Musa Nurain and Efe Sam Agalive.
In the women’s 100m event, Tima Godbless accelerated past the field in final A, winning in 11.53seconds, just as Praise Ofoku made a late surge to snatch the second position from Iyanuoluwa Bada.
As of the time of this report yesterday, the long jump final for men and women, 200m and 4x100m final were yet to be decided.
Sports Minister, Chief Sunday Dare, AFN president Chief Tonobok Okowa, former AFN boss Dr. Solomon Ogba were among top degnitatries that watched the All Comers event at Yaba College of Technology yesterday.
The Africa Senior Athletics Championship will hold in Mauritius in June, while the Commonwealth Games take place in Birmingham, England in July.