By Philips Adefioye
As the Commonwealth Games is fast approaching, the Athletics Federation Association, AFN, has commenced camping at the Gateway stadium in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State to meet up with the timing of the IAAF calendar and take cognizance of the stages of the events.Â Sunday Bada, the Technical Director of the AFN said the camping has commenced with the athletes who ply their trades in the country while the foreign ones would join them later.
Former African 400m champion hinted that talents who were discovered at the last National Sports Festival in Kaduna are presently at the camp to slug it out with the established ones, adding that the board is also on ground to get the best from them beforeÂ the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India later in the year.
â€œWe set up a camp in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State to meet up with the timing of the Athletics Calendar, we have to put our athletes together ahead of theÂ task which is fast approaching later in the year. We are also talking cognizance of the various stages of the phases, we have missed the first stage which was between November and December of last year.
â€œWe are also looking for solid foundation for the athletes that will make them excel at the Commonwealth Games. In this wise, we decided to call the camp and get the best that are based in the country togetherÂ with the ones abroad and we will work on them to get the best.
We discovered some talents but what we are doing now is based on the top ten chart we have right now at home while we are also monitoring the ones in the United State at the various schools. .We will also watch them trainingÂ at their various centres. We also conscious of the fact that they need to have a very strong foundation which is the build up, so we are trying to do every thing we can ro support our athletes to be able to cope with the crucial stages in Athletics federation.â€
The former Nigerian champion stressed that the major challenge of the AFN presently was funding, pointing out that the camp was opened early to muster the resources from the federationâ€™s meagre purse.
â€œOur greatest challenge is funding. We are trying to muster resourcesÂ from our tiny pursesÂ to see how we can keep the tempo going because we are conscious that if the athletes do not start training now, by the time the money eventually comes, it might also lead to a crash programme.
We know the athletesÂ are tired of failing and we officials also tired of failing, that is why we are starting early preparation to work with our key athletes, particular in our strong areas like the relays, sprints, and jumps.Â That is what we have done to keep these athletes together in order to get necessary funding to support them.â€