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Ministry recalls AFN technical director over 100 metres fiasco

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Nigeria’s Raymond Ekevwo (left), U.S.’ Justin Gatlin (centre) and Jamaica’s Yohan Blake compete in the Men’s 100m semi-final at the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha. Ekevwo’s efforts could not fetch Nigeria a medal… at the weekend. PHOTO: AFP.

Okagbare, Oduduru win appeal, reinstated into 200m, relays
The Sports Ministry has recalled the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Technical Director, Sunday Adeleye from the on-going IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar following the fiasco that nearly cost the country two of her best entrants at the championship.

Double Commonwealth Games sprint champion, Blessing Okagbare and Divine Oduduru were on Saturday thrown out of the championship by the IAAF following their failure to appear on the starting block of the 100 metres women and men events respectively. The duo was erroneously entered for the events by the AFN even when they had made known their intention to concentrate on the 200m and the relays at the championships.

They were promptly thrown out of the championship by the IAAF, which later reinstated them on appeal.

The Guardian learnt from reliable sources that Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, who was reported to followed developments in Doha till the early hours of yesterday morning, was said to have ordered the recall of Adeleye and immediate investigation to establish the extent of negligence and administrative lapses that have brought international embarrassment to the country.

IAAF rules state that, unless they’re injured or sick, athletes who withdraw after a certain deadline become ineligible for the rest of the championships.

Okagbare had on Saturday told Associated Press that she and Oduduru repeatedly told the AFN leadership that they had no plans to run in the 100 metres.

“It’s not the first time they’ve done a thing like this,” she said. “They deal with the African Games and national championships, but this is not Africa. We’re not running at national championships.

“People here take the rules seriously and we keep bending them. It’s wrong. It’s incompetence. I feel like they’re wasting my World Championships. I don’t know how many more I have. I’m 30,” Okagbare stressed in the chat with the French wire agency at the Championship in Doha.

Oduduru ran 20.40 in the heat to qualify as one of the three fastest losers that made into the semifinal. The time was a far cry from his PB of 19.76 that gave him the 2019 NCAA 200m crown.

Following her reinstatement yesterday, Okagbare is to open her chase for medal in Doha in the 200m this morning.


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