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Paul Obodoechina of national under-17 sprinters has expressed optimism that the athletes will  perform better in 2014 than the achievements recorded at the 2010 Olympics Games (YOG).

Obodoechina told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday that there had been a sharp drop in the athletes’ timing.

“We are trying our best to put the athletes in the best shape ahead of the Games.

“They just need to be brushed up since some of them just returned the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Junior Championship in Oregon, U.S.

“And I can tell you now that from the training we have had so far, there has been a sharp drop in their timings.

“This implies that we are already looking good to do just like we did at the first edition of the Games in Singapore in 2010.

“Then, we won two gold and one bronze medals in athletics, but now we are ready to surpass that achievement and I see these set of athletes doing that,’’Obodoechina said. [eap_ad_1] He said that they were targeting at least six medals with the level of preparations the athletes have had so far.

NAN reports that athletics is one of the four sports Nigeria is featuring in at the second edition of the YOG scheduled to hold in China from Aug. 16 to Aug. 28.

It will be recalled that the first edition of the Games was held in Singapore from Aug. 14 to Aug. 26, 2010

The Nigerian athletes had on July 30 started camping and training in Abuja ahead of the Games with seven athletes in the camp.

The athletes include one triple jumper, three sprinters, and three hurdle runners.

He added that the morale of the players was high because they would be competing at the world stage.

Obodoechina, however, commended the National Sports Commission (NSC) for the camping programme but called for the athletes’ early departure for the games to enable them to acclimatise with the environment.

“I want to commend the NSC for the camping programme for us to have a successful outing but we are pleading to them to allow us leave Nigeria early enough.

“This is to allow us acclimatise with the environment before the competition starts, so that our athletes will be in good state of health.

“For the 2010 Games, we left Nigeria six days prior to the games and we were able to acclimatise before the competition started which helped us in our performance,’’ he said.

NAN recalls that at the 2010 Games, Nigeria competed in six events but won four medals out of which three were in athletics with the fourth in weightlifting. (NAN)