Home-based track and field athletes will today 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 turnout of athletes in Akure and said that the event would 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.
He however urged the AFN President 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.
Also, sprinter Praise Efejiro Idamadudu will return to competitive track and field action today eight months after she was suspended illegally by the Ibrahim Gusau-led AFN.
Idamadudu was denied the chance to represent Nigeria at the All African Games in Rabat, Morocco and the World Athletics Championships in Doha,Qatar.
The AFN has reiterated that today’s event will also serve as trials for the first AFN Classics in a 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.