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Commonwealth Games: AFN planning to fail, concerned athletics officials lament

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By Ben Efe

As the build-up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games billed for April in Cape Coast, Australia continues, concerned athletics officials have faulted the preparations of Nigerian athletes, who have been in camp since November 2017.

Nigeria’s Glory Onome Nathaniel (R) hands the baton over to Nigeria’s Emerald Egwim (2L) as Germany’s Nadine Gonska (2R) hands off to Germany’s Svea Kohrbruck (L) in the heats of the women’s 4x400m relay athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO 

The athletes and coaches in the camp in Abuja are faced with difficulties. There are no medics in camp to take care of those who need medical help and they have no clothing to match the weather. Yet it was gathered that the athletes have been warned by the sports ministry and Athletics Federation of Nigeria not to voice their concern or they could be ejected from the camp.

However, coach Gabriel Okon called to question the process that produced the camping, and has warned that the country faced a poor outing at the Games. He argued that there was no board meeting or a technical committee deliberation that forged a blue print for the training of the athletes in camp.

“We don’t know the athletes in camp. They just packed coaches who are loyal to them and camped the athletes. There was no meeting to deliberate on the process, we don’t know the blue print for the commonwealth games. It is just Gusau that is running the board alone.

“The other day during the congress we had, people like Amos Adamu were telling us that we should work together but up till now Gusau is not reaching out to anyone except the few he is favourably disposed to,” Okon, a former Nigerian sprinter, alleged.

Also speaking, coach Tobias Igwe lamented that Nigerian athletics has been drowned in turmoil and if something was not done urgently, things might get worse.

“Honestly we don’t really know what is happening in the camp. They just selected coaches based on political considerations.

“They kept the athletes in camp through out the Christmas what are they trying to achieve? Are they trying to overload the athletes and at the end of the day, they run the risk of picking up injury?”



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