The Main Organising Committee of the Channels Track and Field has announced that the second edition of the athletics competition will produce more talents at the grassroots.
The event will take place between November 13 and 14, 2019 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in the Surulere area of Lagos State.
At a press briefing ceremony held on Thursday in Lagos, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Steve Judo, affirmed that the major objective of the event is to discover talents and review athletics in secondary schools.
Mission To Revive Athletics
“We must keep discovering talents; that is the charge the visioner, Mr John Momoh, has given to us and the best place to start is the schools,” Mr Judo told reporters at the stadium.
He added, “We have done a good job for football through the Channels International Kids Cup. We must do the same with other sports and that’s why we are on a mission to revive athletics in Nigeria.”
The Channels Track and Field Classics launched in 2018 and the success it achieved is a clear testament that there are talents at the grassroots that must be discovered and nurtured.
The first edition produced admirable talents as the winner of the Girls 100M and 200M events, Alimot Alowonle, from Tindip College has represented Nigeria at continental events and has been tipped as future track star if groomed properly.
Fatola Adedoyin of Oreyo Grammar School, Ikorodu also got the attention of spectators.
Nicknamed the “Nigerian Usain Bolt”, Adedoyin ran so well to win the Boys 200m and 400m events.
He told Channels TV that his long-term aspiration is to win an Olympic gold medal and Channels Track and Field Classics has given him a platform to dream.
The competition is for U-17 boys and girls in Lagos State secondary schools.
Bringing Back The Glory Days
The consultant for the project and former Nigerian athlete, Henry Amike, hinted there are plans to take the talent search nationwide.
“We are trying to bring back the glory days of athletics in Nigeria. We believe Nigerian athletes can do well at international events,” he also told reporters.
Amike added, “Take the just concluded World Athletics Championship in Doha as a case study, a Nigerian that left the country in less than five years, won gold in the Women’s 400m event. It is a big slap on us; it means we are not doing the right things.”
The consultant who holds the national record of 48.50 seconds in the Men’s 400m hurdles emphasised that Channels Track and Field Classics has been designed to correct the foundational problems of athletics in the country.
“We want to ensure that we build talents from the schools that will improve and gain international recognition,” he said.
The organisers of the event also renewed their commitment to the fight against age cheats, stressing that the competition has strict rules and regulations guiding it.
They also said they will disqualify any school that fails to obey the rules.
Organisers also unveiled the running vests that will be given to the athletes free of charge at the ceremony in Lagos.
Last year, athletes featured in eight events while the second edition of the event will feature 10 events.
The track events are 100M (boys and girls), 200M (boys and girls), 100M hurdles (girls), 110M hurdles (boys), 400M (boys and girls), 4x100M (boys and girls), 4x400M (boys and girls).
The field events are long jump, high jump, and shotput.
The Channels Track and Field Classics is supported by the Lagos State Sports Commission and the Director of the School Sports Directorate, Mrs Oluyomi Oluwasanmi, believes it’s a productive platform to discover and nurture talents.
“We must commend Channels Television for this laudable project. We say it everyday that the government cannot do it alone and that’s why we don’t hesitate to support private initiatives such as this athletics event. We must keep it going,” she said.
Over 50 secondary schools, public and private from six educational districts in Lagos State have been selected to compete at the second edition of the athletics event.