Nigeriaâ€™s foremost queen of the track, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, has applauded the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, for introducing the Golden League series in the countries athletics calendar.|
Speaking at the fourth edition of the League which held at the Aper Aku Stadium in Makurdi at the weekend, Atlanta â€™96 Olympic bronze medalist, who also holds the 200m African record at 22.07secs, said that the Golden League and the Monthly Classic are veritable ground to discover and nurture talents.
â€œThis is a good development for our athletics. I really feel excited seeing athletes here competing for cash. It is just like what the IAAF is doing with the Golden League now upgraded to a Diamond League. I just hope the present board will sustain it for Nigerian track and field to continue to benefit,â€ observed the ex-athlete now into business.
Mrs. Onyali-Omagbemi insisted that the prize money of N30, 000, N20, 000 and N10, 000 for the first to third positions in the Golden League events are comparable to what some of the small meets in Europe pay.
â€œAs you can see, most of the top athletes in the country are here competing. No matter how you look at the prize money, it is something these athletes need for their welfare. So many of them here to actually earn it,â€ stressed the former sprint queen.
She was happy to see two Nigerian home based female quarter milers running 51.2 secs at this time of the year.
â€œThose girls (Etim Margaret of Ondo and Josephine Ehigie of Police) were really outstanding here. With more push and determination they are capable of doing 50.0 secs which will be good for the country at the Commonwealth Games.â€
Interestingly, Onyali_Omagbemi had little to cheer in her specialty, the sprints. Agnes Osazuwa , Shola Ogundemu and Chinazor Amadi who placed 1st ,2nd and 3rd in the 100m had times incomparable to what the USA based runner was churning out for Nigeria.The men version was a one_way traffic for Benjamin Adukwu who easily won in the absence of champions Ogho_Oghene Egwero who went racing a foreign meet. Adukwu won in 10.49secs.