By Ben Efe
As athletes’ build up continues ahead of the IAAF world championships billed for London in August, only two Nigerian runners, Tobiloba Amusan and Patience Okon have so far hit the qualification marks in their respective events.
This is just as the Athletics Federation of Nigeria is hoping to present the women relay teams at the World Relays starting April 22 in Bahamas, with a view to increasing the chances of the teams making the World Championships. Athletes have till July 2 to make the entry standards.
Amusa’s 100m hurdles world leading time of 12.63 seconds achieved on March 25 2017, gives her the bragging rights to run in the championships, while Okon-George barley made it with her 52. 01 seconds she did in the 400m a few days back. The qualification mark for the women 400m is 52.10 seconds. “We are hopeful more athletes will meet the world championships standards. We are still in April and most athletes are yet to hit top form,” said coach Gabriel Okon. He disclosed that the women relays teams are expected to leave for Bahamas any time this week for the World Relays.
“We are the defending champions in the women 4x200m. It is most expedient for us to be there so that we can improve on our ratings. This is because the top eight will gain automatic qualification for the World Championships.”
Meanwhile, former Nigerian international athlete, Brown Ebewele said that the incoming board of the AFN must strive to reposition the sport in the country. He was speaking against the background of the release of the electoral guidelines by sports ministry on Wednesday.
“The new board of the AFN should be comprised of people who are ready to make sacrifices. This is because we need to revive athletics in this country.
“The next dispensation must be for the athletes and the coaches. If the athletes and coaches are not happy, then there is no AFN,” said the former Edo State commissioner for sport.