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Confident Nigerian athletes hit Games Village as Ogba renders account of national trials

By Gowon Akpodonor
12 July 2022   |   3:04 am
The Games Village for Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championships will open today in Eugene, with Nigerian athletes expected to move in tomorrow ahead of the event billed to start on July 15.

Solomon Ogba

The Games Village for Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championships will open today in Eugene, with Nigerian athletes expected to move in tomorrow ahead of the event billed to start on July 15.

United States-based board member and Performance Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Victor Okorie, told The Guardian, yesterday, shortly on arrival in Eugene that Nigerian athletes, who had been in camp in the city perfecting their strategies for the championship, would move into the Games Village tomorrow (July 13).

Okorie, who also heads AFN’s Liaison Department, left his base in Tennessee in the early hours of yesterday for Eugene. “I just arrived in Eugene a few hours ago and I am in contact with our athletes, who have been in camp here training for the World Championship. The Games Village will open tomorrow (today) and our athletes will move in on July 13,” Okorie stated.

He disclosed that Nigerian athletes are confident of success at the championships, which will run from July 15 to 25.

The AFN has a team of 24 athletes to fly Nigeria’s flag at the championship, but it was not clear, yesterday, if some of the athletes, who are in Nigeria, had got their visa to travel to the United States for the championship.

Meanwhile, the AFN National Trials Organising Committee has described as untrue the allegation of ‘mismanagement’ leveled against its chairman, Solomon Ogba, by the federation’s Athletes’ Representative, Henry Okorie.

A statement made available to The Guardian yesterday said Okorie raised a false alarm against Ogba, adding that athletes were not ‘treated with disdain’ during the national trials in Benin City.

Okorie had petitioned the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, accusing the chairman of the organising committee, Ogba, of treating athletes with ‘disdain’

“Our attention has been drawn to the petition written by Henry Okorie, the Athletes Representative on the board of AFN, accusing the chairman of the organising committee for the championships of not respecting the athletes.

“While we feel it is not necessary to join issues with Okorie, who, as a member of the executive board of the AFN, should be abreast of development in the federation, especially the organisation of the event, it is, however, necessary we put the record straight for posterity to judge us,” the statement signed by Ogba, reads.

“Okorie pretended not to know that the committee was charged with the responsibility of raising funds for the organisation of the championships.

“The committee was able to raise N10m for the championships, while Edo State government took care of accommodation, which Okorie allocated to the athletes.

“The N10m raised was not even enough to pay for the flight tickets of the Ghana and Benin relay teams invited for the championships as well as some of our foreign based athletes.

“Okorie should have endeavoured to find out how the committee managed to accomplish the task with just N10m. If he must know, the chairman of the committee he desperately tried to malign used some of his personal money to offset some of the expenses incurred, including the money Okorie collected for the feeding of some of the athletes. He should also know that the AFN president and the Delta state Sports Commission also came in to rescue the committee,” Ogba stated.