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Commonwealth Games: AFN conduct trials without foreign based athletes

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By Ben Efe

For the first time in recent years, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN is conducted its selection trials without the participation of foreign-based athletes.

Blessing Okagbare (left) leaps to 6.99m to win silver in the women’s long jump at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow yesterday.

The trials for the Commonwealth Games started off yesterday, with only sprinter Seye Ogunlewe being the only athlete based abroad in attendance. Ogunlewe has been in Nigeria training for weeks due to the weather conditions in the UK where he is based.

Other athletes, most especially those in the USA have cited bad timing and prevailing circumstances at the AFN for their absences, while those in school like Divine Oduduru, Tobi Amusan and Etim Aniekeme Alphonsus have been ruled out.

“There is no way athletes like Oduduru and Amusa, two of our in-form athletes will be here. Their respective institutions will not let them out, when they are in the middle of the NCAA.

“Those who are not in school, some have spoken about the timing having just concluded the indoor.

“I think we should just forget the Commonwealth and concentrate on the Africa Championship we are hosting, there is more time to prepare,” a member of the AFN hinted yesterday. However, sports ministry officials who seem to have taken over running of the AFN are optimistic of having a good team for the Commonwealth Games billed for April in Gold Coast, Australia. It was gathered that a trial will be conducted for the foreign-based athletes when the team embark on overseas training tour.

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