Jubilation as victorious athletes return from Zambia
Sports Minister To Receive Team In Lagos
Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, will today in Lagos, receive the athletes, who did the nation proud at the just concluded African U18 and U20 Athletics Championship in Ndola, Zambia.
The first batch of Nigerian contingent to the championship arrived in Lagos yesterday afternoon. Team Nigeria, with a small contingent of 41 athletes, finished second on the final medals table behind South Africa with 17 gold, 10 silver and 9 bronze. South Africa paraded a large squad of 120 people, including 105 athletes at the battle of Ndola.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday on arrival in Lagos, female hurdler, Osamuyi Faith, who won a gold and silver in the relay and 100m hurdles respectively, said that she was excited to be part of the trip to Zambia.
“I am so happy to make the trip to Zambia, and I appreciate the AFN leadership for the opportunity.”
Another athlete, Ewa Peace, who got a silver medal in the high jump event, was also full of happiness, saying the battle of Ndola afforded her the opportunity to meet with athletes from different parts of Africa.
President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Tonobok Okowa, revealed to The Guardian, yesterday, that the Sports Minister, Dare, has promised to be on ground in Lagos today to receive the second batch of the athletes and officials.
“The Sports Minister said he would be here tomorrow (today) to receive the second batch of the athletes and officials. We are very happy with the performance of the athletes in Ndola. It was not easy to place second ahead of countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt. The athletes actually did the nation proud,” Okowa stated.
Meanwhile, the Technical Director of AFN, Samuel Onikeku, has explained why the athletes and officials traveled to Zambia in two batches.
“It is sad that some Nigerians will just wake up and start criticising what we are doing without taking their time to find out the actual position of things. This championship was earlier scheduled to hold in Nusaka, but was moved to Ndola at the dying minutes.”
It was not possible for us to get over 50 seats in one airline. Even other countries like Egypt also traveled on different airlines to the championship. People should appreciate the effort of the present AFN board. Let us also celebrate the athletes for a job well done,” Onikeku stated.