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Emedolu leads medals' chase

Posted by Everest Onyewuchi on 2005/08/06 | Views: 505 |

Emedolu leads medals' chase


The 10th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships begins today in Helsinki, Finland, with Nigeria in attendance.

The 10th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships begins today in Helsinki, Finland, with Nigeria in attendance.

Helsinki hosted the first IAAF World Championships in 1983.

Nigeria’s contingent led by the president of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Mrs. Violet Odogwu-Nwajei, left in two batches on Wednesday and Thursday to the Finland capital because of inability to secure enough seats in one aircraft.

The Nigerian team were upbeat as they departed, with the national coach, Armelia Edet, hoping that they would improve their performance at the last Olympic Games held in Athens in August, 2004.

Much of Edet’s hope is hinged on the former World Cup winner, 29-year-old Uchenna Emedolu, who won 100metres (men) with a time of 10.13 seconds during the 16th Mobil Track and Field Championships trials held in Abuja last month.

But that time falls short of 9.85 secs Gatlin Justin ran at the Athens 2004 to win the gold in the event. Already, the IAAF has said in its website that whoever wants to be the fastest man in Helsinki must be ready “to run sub 9.90secs.”

It is expected that Emedolu would show an uncommon determination that could earn him a place in the final, even though he has fully not recovered from an injury he complained of during the Abuja trials.

Nigeria’s top woman sprinter, Endurance Ojokolo, who ran 11.29 secs in Abuja, has already said that the team are in Finland as part of their build up to the next Commonwealth Games scheduled to hold in Melbourne, Australia.

“Our hope as always is in the relays, and I think that with the state of their psychological readiness, the 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams would do better than the bronze medals they won at Athens,” Coach Edet said on Wednesday night at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

Nigeria’s quartet of Emedolu, Deji Aliu, Olusola Fasuba and Aaron Egele picked the bronze in the 4x400m in Athens.

Egele is not in Finland; therefore, Musa Audu, Godday James, Tamunosiki Atoribido and Saul Weigopwa would take his place before the 4x100m relay quartet is constituted.

Vivian Peters-Chukwuemeka has entered for the shot put, but she is ranked 25th in the world, with Bulgarian, Nadezhda Ostapchuk, Cuba’s Yumileidi Cumba and Germany’s Nadine Kleinert expected to dominate in Helsinki.

In all, for the Nigerians, Helsinki 2005 would be used as a training tour, which made some analysts to criticize the AFN for not enlarging the team.

But the AFN boss, Odogwu-Nwajei, thought otherwise. “The World Championship is not for all-comers, it is not for exposure, but to win medals,” she argued.

SATURDAY PUNCH, August 06, 2005

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Comments (3)

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown