By Ben Efe
Athletics Federation of Nigeria yesterday released the list of 100 athletes that will represent Nigeria at the 21st Africa Athletics Championships, billed for August 1-5 in Asaba, Delta State.
Expectedly, the list include top athletes like Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteghonor, Tobi Amasan, Ese Brume, Divine Oduduru, Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Seye Ogunlewe.
Others include Patience Okon-George, Yinka Ajayi, Praise Idamadudu, Stephen Mozia, Chukwuebube Enekweche and Kelechi Nwanaga.
This list was ratified by the board of the AFN after a meeting in Asaba. The selection trial for the championships, was disrupted by a peaceful protest of athletes on July 8 in Abuja demanding for better conditions as they train and sweat for the country. However, one athlete Orukpe Eriyokan, one of Nigeria’s best quarter-miler is missing from the list. It was gathered that he was not listed because of his role in the demonstration. All the same a board member hinted that Orukpe could still be recalled pending investigations.
According to a release by the AFN, an Athletes commission will be set up in accordance with IAAF statues to forestall a recurrence of the demonstration by the athletes.
The Board resolved to continue to place priority on Athletes welfare within available resources and decided to investigate the few persons that instigated the Athletes protest in order to avert a recurrence.
However, it remained to be seen how the AFN will motivate the athletes for the onerous task of competing and winning at the championships, which will be a selection trial for the Athletics World Cup later in the year. Other top African athletics countries have since selected their teams and put their athletes in focus for the event.