Foreign-based stars flood Benin City as battles for World Championships tickets begin
Several national record holders are among the athletes expected to feature in this year’s national trials to pick Nigeria’s flag bearers to the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
A first set of the athletes are expected to arrive in Benin City, Edo State capital, today. Chairman of the organising committee set up by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Yusuf Alli, stated yesterday that the state is ready to stage the best championship ever.
Last year, the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium was the venue for the national trials, where athletes for both the World Championships in Oregon, United States and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, were picked.
Alli stated that the government and people of Edo State are excited to host the event a second time.
“I am sure the athletes will be excited to be here a second time because last year, they got the best treatment and hospitality from the people. Again, the luck of visiting our land followed Team Nigeria to Oregon, where Tobi Amusan broke a world record and won gold medal for our country. Ese Brume also got a silver medal. It was the best performance ever by Nigeria in the history of the World Championships.”
Alli, whose Long Jump record set in 1989 in Lagos still stands till datem added: “We are ready for this year’s national trials, and I can tell you that the athletes will enjoy what we have on ground for them. Edo is the best sporting state in Nigeria. Our government has invested so much in sports, and the results is what is showing today.”
AFN Secretary General, Rita Mosindi, stated yesterday that the first batch of foreign-based athletes would arrive in Benin City today. Although the AFN scribe did not give details of the expected stars, among athletes expected in the ancient city of Benin for the World Athletics Championship trials are reigning World Champion, sprint hurdler, Tobiloba Amusan, silver medalist at the last edition, Ese Brume, sprinter Favour Ofili, 400m Hurdles runner, Nathaniel Ezekiel and Javelin thrower, Nnamdi Prosper.
Also expected in Benin City are Shot Put thrower, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, Triple jumper, Ruth Usoro, Chioma Onyekwere, Godson Brume, Udodi Onwuzurike, home boy, Samuel Ogazi and veteran Patience Okon-George, among others. The 2023 World Championships will hold in Budapest next month.
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