By Ben Efe
Athletics Federation of Nigeria technical director, Omatseye Nesiama has expressed hope that there will be funds to drive Nigeria’s preparations towards the 2015 World Championships and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
He was speaking against the background of the relatively successful outing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland where Nigerian track and field athletes against all odds raked in 3 gold and two silver medals. Nesiama, a Nigerian Navy Commodore stressed that it was the early preparations embarked upon by the AFN that made the country proud in Glasgow. He indicated that it was most unlikely, there will be that kind of scenario for the up coming World Championships.
“Next year is a busy year for athletics. Apart from the World Championships, it is a year where every serious country begin their preparations for the Olympics.
“By the this time last year we already started our build up programme with conditioning and training.
“That was why we were able to do what we did in Scotland. But we need to do double what we did in 2014, if we are to make any impact at the Olympics games.
“These things cost money. we got little financial support for all our programmes last year, we can only wish that we get funding for our programmes.” he said.
The AFN really has to get started because the world governing body IAAF on Thursday introduced new measures that will see athletes who meet only the A standard participate in the World Championships and ultimately the Olympics. The IAAF Council meeting in Monaco announced a new unified qualification system that will have only the A standard.
According to the IAAF, the unified entry standards a little below old A category and above B category – will combine with invitations which will effectively tighten up overall qualification standards, allowing them to standardise entries, which will in turn help organisers to anticipate the required provision of facilities such as hotel rooms and transport.
An IAAF statement said: “The key element of the new system, is that the IAAF shall establish the ideal number of athletes (and relay teams) to start in each event of the Championships and shall ensure that such ideal numbers are met through a qualification system which, essentially, combines entry standards (only one standard) and invitations based on performance lists.”
No quotas have been set yet, but according to IAAF insiders, the international federation is working towards a system which will broadly conform to a figure of 2,000 athletes at the World Championships
When an extra 200 appeared at the 2011 Daegu World Championships, numerous logistical problems were created.
“As in the past,” the statement continued, “there are still some special qualification opportunities and it will still be possible for member federations without any qualified athletes to be represented with one unqualified athlete (subject to certain conditions).”
Member federations will continue to be able to field up to three qualified athletes in each individual event, and a fourth if they are either a reigning World outdoor champion or winner of the previous year’s IAAF Diamond Race or IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge.