The Athletics Federation of Nigeria has stated that only athletes with medal potential will make the country’s contingent to this month’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China. Not less than 500 Nigerian athletes from within and outside the country are now converged in Warri, Delta State, for the All Nigeria Athletics Championships, which serve serves as trials for the country’s would-be representatives at both the worlds in Beijing and the All Africa Games billed for September in Congo.
Many athletes were yet to hit the IAAF standard needed to guarantee them participation at the world championships, and Technical Director of the AFN, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, warned that the federation will not compromise on standard as Team Nigeria would not be in Beijing for jamboree.
He said: “We are going for the championship with a compact team because this is not time for a jamboree,” Nesiama said. “There is a new thinking in the AFN that we will go to competitions with athletes with winning potential.
“Enough of trying to go for exposure, we have exposed the athletes enough, from the cadet level to the senior level. “If we are taking just two athletes, we want them to make appreciable impact.”
On the track, the AFN relay coordinator, American Maurice Greene, predicted tougher contests at the All Nigeria Championships, which started yesterday and ends tomorrow. “I expect the country’s athletes to come good at the National trials,” said the former world champion.
“I think everybody is getting ready for the national championships this weekend. “Many athletes are coming in with their A performances and some others in advance stages of their trainings will be coming in, so I expect it will be a tough trials.”
– Oladipo Okubanjo