Thursday, April 11, 2013

AFN Tasks Senior Athletes

To get the best athletes with good finish time at the IAAF World championships coming up in August, senior athletes hoping to make the national trials in Calabar have been mandated by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria to make a set time in competitions from now till June before getting an invitation to the trials.

To this end, the AFN president, Evangelist Solomon Ogba has declared that gone are the days when all athletes come for the trials, while also stressing that every athlete interested in the competition should, up till June, make 10.20secs and 11.20secs for men and women respectively.

The former Delta State sports commissioner said setting huddles for athletes is a way of making the athletes put in their best while also adding that the federation doesn’t want to see athletes crashing out of events in the heat stages.

He gave the London 2012 Olympics as an example where, for the first time in Nigeria’s athletics history, the country had 11 semi-finals and five finalists at the Games, while stressing that it was made possible with hurdles of motivation set for the athletes.

 “There will be a standard to run at the national trials in Calabar this year because we don't want the situation where everybody can’t just come in.

 “To be invited for the trials, the men have to run 10.20secs while the women will have to make 11.20 to qualify to run in Calabar. Any athlete that don't make these time before the trials will not be invited for the trials this year.

“In the London 2012 Olympics, we had 11 semi-finalists and five finalists so we don’t want our athletes to go to the World Championships in Russia in August and come out in the heats so they have from January this year till June to make the time in competitions,” the AFN boss disclosed.

Ogba further added that when his board started some four years ago, the aim is to reposition Nigerian athletics and take it back to number one in Africa, as was achieved at the 2012 Africa Senior Athletics Championship in Porto Novo, Benin Republic; where the country took the first position after 10 years and the youth team won the inaugural youth version (AYAC) last month in Warri.

AFN technical director, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama added that to achieve the goal, the senior athletes will be monitored everywhere in the world where they are in competitions, in order not to give room to those that did not make set standard for the trials.

“We shall be monitoring all senior athletes in every competitions they will partake in because we want the best for the trials and the best for the World champs in Russia in August,” Nesiama stated.

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