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Nigerian junior athletes invade Ilaro, seek tickets to Abidjan


Running tracks at a stadium

Ilaro Stadium in Ogun State will be a beehive of activities for four days, as junior athletes from all parts of the federation battle for tickets to the 2019 Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) U-18 (Youth) and U-20 (Junior) Championships scheduled for Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The event in the Ivorian capital will hold in April.

Last year, Team Nigeria junior team went to Algeria with only 17 athletes made up of 10 girls and seven boys for the championship, which was strictly for the U-18 athletes, and finished second behind South Africa who paraded 60 athletes.

This time around, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) says the country will parade a bigger and stronger squad with the hope of wrestling the first position from South Africa.


Technical Director of AFN, Sunday Adeleye told The Guardian yesterday that the team to Abidjan would be stronger that those paraded in Algeria last year.

According to Adelaye, athletes are expected to arrive in Ilaro on March 13 for the qualification, which will last for four days.

Also speaking with The Guardian yesterday, former Nigerian jumper, hurdler and sprinter, Seigha Porbeni, who led Team Nigeria to Algeria last year, said that athletes who qualified from the test in Ilaro would go into camping immediately ahead of the big event in Abidjan.

Porbeni, an all-rounder in his active days competing in seven different sports, stated that although Team Nigeria was unable to top the medals table in Algeria last year, the athletes gave good account of themselves.

“We went with 17 athletes to Algeria, and 14 of them came back with a medal. South Africa paraded 60 athletes and competed in virtually all the sports. I am sure the situation will be different this time.”

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