Assures Nigerians of a memorable outing
By Rasheed Adewuyi
The Athletics Federation of Nigerian, AFN, has named 42 athletes to compete for honors at the combined 4th African U-18 Championships and the 15th African U-20 championships scheduled to start this weekend in Ndola, Zambia.
The list is made up of 23 U-18 girls and boys as well as 19 U-20 men and women.
Nigeria U-20 women’s record holder, Tima Godbless is spearheading the country’s challenge for podium places in the U-20 category while National Sports Festival 100m and 200m silver medalist, Faith Okwose tops the list of 23 U-18 athletes listed for the Championships.
Some others listed in the U-18 category are Ewa Peace, Eyakpoeyan Justina Tiana, Saibu Yetunde Olayinka, Israel Okon Sunday, Monday Ebuka, Francis James, Musa Jimoh, Justin Osigwe, and Abujei Chinedu.
For the U-20, Sule Rejoice Adijatu, Oke Opeyemi Deborah, Usenbor Osaretin Joy, Bright Ada Princess, Ajayi Kanyinsola, Adebisi Musbau, Musa Nurain Kola, Unorji Kingsley Emeka, and Caleb Joshua, also made the team.
AFN Technical Director, Samuel Onikeku says the federation has selected the best athletes that will do Nigeria proud in Ndola and to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors who launched their way to stardom at the Championships.
‘The AFN has selected the best crop of young athletes who will not only be medal contenders in Ndola, but will grow to become one of the best in their events,’’ Onikeku, a former Nigeria international athlete, said.
Onikeku revealed that the last edition of the combined championships held four years ago in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, produced stars who have grown to become Nigeria and African record holders today.
‘’Enoch Adegoke cut his teeth at this championships. He ran a 10.29 Championships record in the 100m in Ivory Coast four years ago and two years after that, he became the first Nigerian man to run in the final of the Olympics,’’ Onikeku who also revealed that Favour Ofili sped to fame with double championships records in Ivory Coast, said.
‘‘Favour was exceptional in Ivory Coast, setting two Championships records in the 200m (23.38) and 400m (52.28) events in the U-18 category. Today she is the African record holder in the 200m indoors and Nigeria’s 200m record holder outdoor.
‘‘Rosemary Chukwuma successfully completed a sprint double in Ivory Coast in the U-20 category and she is today, the fastest over the two events so far this year.
‘’The Javelin thrower set a championships record of 74.71m to win the gold and he is today the Nigerian record holder in the event after breaking Pius Bazighe’s over two decades record.’’
The AFN Technical Director is confident the athletes going to Ndola to compete are as good as those who went to Ivory four years ago and urged Nigerians to expect the birth of a new generation of superstars.
Meanwhile, Mrs Rosa Collins, a former Nigeria and African triple jump champion and record holder, who is also the second Vice President of the AFN, is the leader of delegation.