All is now set for the biggest track and field championship in the land, the All Nigeria, NNPC/Mobil track and field championship, now in its 2st consecutive year and billed for the U.J. Esuene stadium from June 24 to 26.
Maria Wophill, secretary general of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, said the federation will move en mass to Calabar immediately after the last Golden League holding in Warri this week end.
â€œWe will be moving straight from Warri to Calabar. The Golden League ends in Warri on June 20 and off we go to Calabar. This year is particularly instructive in that the golden league has helped to toughen the athletes for the Calabar Championship.
â€œDo not forget that the AFN has also decided that there will be minimum qualification standards for Calabar, so we expect a keener and tougher competition.â€ She said.
Speaking in the same vein, President of the AFN, Chief Solomon Ogba, just back from a tour of the US where he went to track and monitor the well being of our foreign-based athletes said there will no going back on the entry standards in Calabar.
â€œThe Mobil championship is our last trial for the African championship in Nairobi Kenya in July and the19th Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, and we must ensure that whosoever gets out of CalabarÂ is worthy to represent us abroadâ€, he affirmed.
In Calabar, where the honour of hosting the championship has been bestowed outside the traditional venues of Lagos and Abuja, the airwaves is vibrating with news of the impending flooding of the tourist destination with the best track and field athletes in the country.
The State Commissioner of Youth and Sports, Hon. Ray Obeten, said AFN will not regret picking Calabar. â€œApart from our state-of- the-art facility, we also boast an excellent organizational back up that will complement the efforts of the AFN, not to mention the famed hospitality of the Cross River people.
â€œJust coming fresh from the FIFA U-17 World Cup, we are poised to extend our superlative hosting capabilities to the Mobil Championshipâ€ he assured.