By Abolade Ogundimu
Abuja – Sunday Adeleye, Technical Director, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), says Ibrahim Gusau-led board succeeds beyond winning medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia by getting into finals in major events.
Adeleye made this known while responding from Gold Coast, Australia, to questions on Nigeria’s performance at the games from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Abuja on Sunday.
NAN reports that Nigeria won two gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze medal at the end of its athletics participation.
“AFN 2018 season’s developmental programmes were put to test at the Gold Coast and we bagged five medals at the Commonwealth Games within five months.
“But beyond medals, we got to finals in major events which we did not near in the last 10 years.
“After 10 years, Nigeria got two men in 100m finals. We had at least, 11 semi-finalists which we had not seen in a long time.
“I felt elated when Jamaican Athletics Technical Director said this is about the first time Nigerian athletes are being professional.
“He wondered what we were doing to get such result. If we can get such results in our first international appearance, it means we can do more,” he said.
Adeleye said work was in progress and that also meant the federation’s plans were working out.
“Before the 2018 Commonwealth Games, national records are being dusted by home-based athletes at national trials and meets.
“Definitely, athletics is on the upward swing in the country,” he said.
On plans to sustain the tempo of improvement in the nation’s athletics, the ex-national athlete said: “Our next target is the African Senior Championships that will be held in Asaba, Nigeria.
“Since we came on board, preparations for Commonwealth Games and the African Senior Championship among others have been on the front burner.
“Athletes and coaches that could not make it to Gold Coast are camping in Port Harcourt for the Continental event so that we will not only host but lead the medals table,” he said.
According to him, myself and my coaching crew believe in possibility of getting better results from raw talents and we put heads together from the onset to realise that objective.
“We came to Commonwealth with about 80 per cent home-based athletes that we believe could do us proud as a nation.
“So far, they have not disappointed us though we had one or two errors that had been corrected so that others won’t fall victim again,” he said.
NAN reports that Nigeria’s Oluwatobiloba Amusan won Gold in women 100m, while Suwabidu Galadima also won Gold in men’s T47 100m.
Also, Nigeria won silver in women 4X400m while Chukwuebuka Enekwechi equally won silver in men’s shot put.
Nigerian athletics got its only bronze in men 4X400m relay.
NAN also reports that three Nigerians entered semi-final of 100m men while two of them got to final.
Seye Ogunlewe finished fourth while Enoch Adegoke finished sixth among eight finalists.
Similarly, in women Hammer throw, Queen Obisesan finished fifth, throwing 63.84m, unlike 57.16m she threw in the last Commonwealth in Glasgow.
Besides, Nigeria finished ninth winning nine gold, nine silver and six bronze medals from 10 events in the games that featured 39 countries.