Home-based track and field athletes will on Saturday February 15 officially begin the race towards making the qualification standard for this summer’s Olympic Games at the AFN All-Comers meet at the Federal University of Technology in Akure.
The event, the first in a series of competitions in the 2020 AFN calendar will also afford the athletes the opportunity to evaluate how far they have gone in their training.
Godwin Ogogo, president of Nigerian Coaches Association is delighted with the turn out of athletes in Akure and reveals the event will provide them the needed test as they battle for the qualification standard for the two major competitions this year,the African Championships in Algeria and the Olympics.
“I am happy for the athletes who have been asking for competitions to not only test their readiness for the season but also battle to get the qualification standard for the two events. For the junior ones among them, the All-Comers will also give them the chance to get the qualification standard for the World Junior Championships in Nairobi,Kenya,” said Ogogo.
“The athletes know that after the meet here in Akure, the next stop is Ado Ekiti where the AFN holds its first Classics competition.
“I am particularly delighted the federation is reintroducing the classics which will engender competition among the athletes. They now know they have to perform before they can be invited to run and be entitled to accommodation, transport subsidy and prize monies,” he added and advised AFN president, Honourable Olamide George not to be distracted in his bid to ensure Nigeria returns to the podium in Tokyo 12 years after the track and field team last did at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Meanwhile, sprinter Praise Efejiro Idamadudu will return to competitive track and field action on Saturday, eight months after she was suspended illegally by the Ibrahim Gusau-led AFN.
Idamadudu was thus denied the chance to represent Nigeria at the All African Games in Rabat, Morocco and the World Athletics Championships in Doha,Qatar.
“Praise would have been a great addition to the women’s 4x400m team in Doha because she ran a sub 53 seconds (52.49) in 2018 and had done 11.59 seconds over the 100m in June last year. She was also in the Nigeria team that ran 3:25.29 at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast,Australia in April 2018,” said Ogogo who believes her presence would have secured qualification for the women’s 1600 to the Olympics.
The AFN has reiterated that Saturday’s event will also serve as trials for the first AFN Classics in two weeks time. Four athletes will qualify in each Classics event while the remaining four will be selected at an All-Comers competition that will be held a day before the Classics.
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