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Egyptian, South African officials lash out at Nigeria on neglect of Velodrome

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Egyptian and South African officials did not hide their displeasure over the neglect of the multi-million naira Velodrome constructed over 16 years ago by the Nigerian government.

The Egyptian national cycling head coach, Absie-Rincon was bitter that the world-class Velodrome has not been put to use 16 years after its construction, describing it as “wonderful, very, very smooth with good track, not bumpy and perfect track”.

Coach Absie-Rincon believes the country can produce world champions with the facility, regretting that Nigerian riders have not been exposed to what many other states have been clamouring to acquire.

“Let me tell you the truth, I am from Egypt. These your riders that I have seen here in this Africa Track Championship are world champions in their various categories if given proper training with the facility at this Velodrome.

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“You have world champions in the making if properly groomed. Yes, Nigeria can produce world champions if you start using this fantastic Velodrome to train. This is a wonderful facility you left to rot away for good 16 years.  It is a shame,” he said.

Coach Absie-Rincon added, “With a good and knowledgeable coach on track, Nigeria can produce world champions. I have seen that Nigeria have riders in the junior and elites that can rule the world, if properly groomed with this facility.”

Sammy Hardine, a UCI referee also told The Guardian that the facility at the velodrome was capable of hosting world championships should the Cycling Federation of Nigeria so apply.

According to the South African UCI referee, the velodrome available in other parts of the world were renovated to meet the UCI specifications, “but this Velodrome in Abuja is the latest in accordance with the UCI regulations, not patched to meet specifications. It’s a world class velodrome”.

Remarkably, the $360 million Velodrome, which roof was blown off by thunderstorms on the eve of the closing of the Eighth All Africa Games in 2003, was never put to use until last weekend when it hosted the maiden Africa Cup Track Championship.


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