…Garden City to host first leg May 6
The first leg of the 2011 Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League earlier scheduled to hold in Kaduna has been moved to the University of Port Harcourt Sports Complex in the Rivers State capital.
Maria Wophil, the Secretary General of the AFN who announced the shift of venue of the Meet, said that May 6 and 7 dates for the track & field Meet remain unchanged.
“The Golden League will begin on Friday May 6 and end on May 7. The violence that rocked the city of Kaduna that we had earlier scheduled to host the first leg forced us to move it to Port Harcourt. We don’t want to risk the lives of our athletes in an environment were people are rioting over elections,” observed the former national handball star.
Mrs. Wophil frowned at speculations in a section of the media insinuating that the competition has been placed on hold due to sponsorship problems.
“I don’t know where the reporter who wrote that report got his facts from. We (AFN) never told anybody we were having funding problems over the league. Everyone in the country is aware of the developments in the political climate and if we opted to move the League to a place that we feel is more secure, I don’t know how that translates to cancellation,” fumed the soft spoken scribe of the AFN.
Dr. Ken Anugweje, AFN board member who is also the director of sport at the University of Port Harcourt at the weekend expressed his joy at the prospect of hosting the Golden League.
“University of Port Harcourt is one of the best sports complexes in the country. You need to come over to see the ultra modern, IAAF certified track we have there. It is, perhaps, the best we have in the country at the moment,” observed the sports medicine expert.
He said he was expecting good competition during the Golden League as most states would want to use it to prepare for the National Sports Festival (which incidentally, Rivers State is hosting next month.)
Unlike the previous editions, the AFN is planning to have a compact League that would be full of respect due to the quality of races and distances churned out of top athletes. It is also expected that there is going to be an improved prize monies to be won.