Former national women 100m champion, Endurance Ojokolo has vehemently opposed the Athletics Federation of Nigeriaâ€™s decision to set standards for the Mobil track and field championships.
The AFN in a bid to raise the standard for the national trials had set mark, which athletes must achieve if they want to participate. But only Nigerian elite athletes could cope, leaving out a large percentage of local athletes from the trails.
â€œMany athletes came hereÂ (Calabar) to compete, but they were shut out. This is supposed to be a national trail and it ought to beÂ open to all athletes. Even in America it is open.
â€œThere are athletes who couldnâ€™t compete in meets during the season and they target the Mobil Championships to make up. But they have been shut out. Even look at the entire competition, it lacks the kind of atmosphere that we know the trial for. There was reduced participation, for me this is slowly killing the sport,â€ said Ojokolo who won three consecutive 100m titles.
OtherÂ former national athletes like Brown Ebewele and Gabriel Okon also expressed their reservations on the set standards introduced by the AFN president Solomon Ogba.
Okon said that though the AFN has the right to set rules for its competition, Nigeria as a country was not yet ripe for that type of rigidity.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t the right thing to do. This is because we are still developing our athletics, we have not reached that level of introducing standards,â€Okon stated. Ebewele added that the AFN must have to do away with setting standards in the next edition.