Team Nigeria departs for Ndola with 42 athletes
The first batch of Nigeria’s delegation to the 2023 African U-18 and U-20 Athletics Championships left for Ndola, Zambia, yesterday.
A total of 42 athletes and 10 officials made the trip after eight athletes were dropped due to their inability to secure international passports on time.
The Guardian learnt, yesterday, that due to non-availability of seats in one airline, the contingent had to travel in two batches.
While the first batch left Lagos yesterday by Kenya Airways, the second batch will travel today by Ethiopian Airlines.
Head coach of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Seigha Porbeni, told The Guardian on his way to Lagos, yesterday, that some U.S.-based Nigerian athletes, who are still within the age limit, could not make the trip to Ndola due to their tight academic schedule.
“Right now, this is a busy period for our athletes in various schools in the U.S. We have so many of them who are still within the age limit for this championship, but we don’t want to disturb their activities.
“Again, eight of the local athletes already selected for the trip could not travel with us due to delay in getting their international passports. But we are hopeful that these 41 athletes can give Nigeria the number of medals we expect when hostilities begin in Ndola,” Porbeni stated.
In the Nigerian delegation are 10 officials, comprising one secretary, one doctor, one physiotherapist, AFN’s Technical Director and five coaches attached to the athletes.
The 2023 African U-18 and U-20 Athletics Championships in Zambia will run from April 28 to May 5.
Team Nigeria finished third behind South Africa and Kenya at the last edition held in Cote d’Ivoire in 2019.