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No plan to drop Okagbare from Rio Olympics team, says AFN


blessing-okagbareThe Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has said it has no plan to drop Commonwealth track queen, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguenor, from the Rio Olympics team following her failure to join Team Nigeria to the just concluded CAA African Senior Athletics Championships in Durban, South Africa.

Nigeria finished third on the medals’ table in Durban behind South Africa and Kenya as against her second position in Morocco two years ago.Okagbare and some key Nigerian athletes did not make the trip to Durban, fuelling media reports that she might be sanctioned. But a board member of AFN, Prof. Ken Anugweje, told The Guardian yesterday that the federation has no plan whatever to axe Okagbare and other athletes, who failed to show up in Durban.

Anugweje, a professor of sports medicine, said: “Anybody peddling such rumour does not like Nigerian athletics. There were several top athletes from other countries who could not make it to Durban. So many of them were missing from the South African team.”

We are not taking any action against Okagbare. I am a board member of the AFN and I am sure of what I am talking about.”According to reports, the AFN is unhappy with Okagbare for ‘dumping’ the CAA African Senior Athletics Championships in Durban for the IAAF World Challenge in Madrid, Spain.

The president of the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), Hamad Kalkaba, was also said to have specifically mentioned Okagbare’s name during a briefing with journalists in Durban.

According to Kalkaba, “some top African athletes are not taking the championship seriously and there is the need for each federation to ensure that all African athletes participate at the African Senior Championships.”

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