Nigerian athletes to hit Oregon July 12, Nike delivers kits
• 4X100m Women Relay Confirmed • Ogunlewe, Ogundeji Make Team
Nigerian athletes for this year’s World Athletics Championships are expected to arrive at the Games Village in Eugene, Oregon, United States, on July 12 ahead of the championship 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 that he would relocate from his base in Tennessee to Eugene on July 11 to receive Team Nigeria.
Okorie, who also heads AFN’s Liaison Department, hinted that the Games Village would open for the athletes on July 12.
“I will be on ground in Eugene on July 10 or 11 to receive our athletes,” he said.
In November last year, Okorie, a silver medallist for Nigeria at COJA 2003 All African Games, was among Athletes Performance Directors from different parts of the World during the inspection tour of facilities for Oregon 2022 World Championship.
Sports wears manufacturing company, Nike, is expected to deliver the kits for Team Nigeria on arrival in Eugene, Oregon on July 12.
The AFN Performance Director, Okorie, told The Guardian yesterday that Nike kits would cover Nigerian athletes for Oregon 2022 World Championship as well as the World U-20 Championship holding in Cali, Colombia from August 2 to 6.
“I met with Nike representative, who explained to me that he didn’t want anything to do with Nigeria because of their bad experience with past AFN board. He said Nigeria had burned bridges in the past, but I was able to convince him that this is a different AFN board and we are moving Track and Field in a different direction. Nike will provide Nigeria clothing apparel for the World championships and World Junior,” Okorie stated.
Meanwhile, World Athletics, yesterday confirmed Nigerian women’s 4x100m relay team’s participation in the World Championships.
The Nigerian ladies had looked in danger of missing the cut for the championships after the Athletics Integrity Unit, AIU, extended Blessing Okagbare’s ban by one year after the sprinter was found to have committed additional anti-doping rule violations.
With the announcement of the ban on June 27, 2002 by the AIU and a day after the close of qualification for the Championships in Oregon, Nigeria slipped from 16th to 17th in the ranking and looked down and out until France provided the lifeline.
The French team had secured qualification for the women’s 4x100m at the World Relays in Poland last year but could not raise a team for the Oregon championships due to injuries and some of the athletes who are expecting babies.
Also, World Athletics has confirmed sprinter, Seye Ogunlewe and Shot Putter Dotun Ogundeji in Nigeria’s team to Oregon 2022.
Ogunlewe, who came fourth in the 100m event at the Nigerian Championships which served as trials for the World Championships will run only in the 4x100m relay, while Ogundeji, who was at the 22nd African Championships in Mauritius last month will compete in the Shot Put event alongside Chukwuebuka Enekwechi.
With this, Nigeria now has a team of 24 athletes flying her flag at the Championships.