Funds Lagos – The national athletics team that will defend their title at the 2nd Africa Youth Athletics Championships (AYAC) in Mauritius may not participate in the competition.
The competition is scheduled to run from April 23 to April 26 in Mauritius.
A source close to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos that it would be a sad development for the defending champions.
The source said that the 27 athletes within the U-16 and U-17 and eight coaches that had prepared for the event could be sent home.
“Unless there is something positive from the AFN, they will be dispersed.
“We do not have the funds. We attended the African Junior Championships in Ethiopia with funds raised by some officials, who had yet to be refunded.
“We cannot continue to spend our personal funds; we conducted trials thinking that we could be given the needed funds but until now, we have not received any money.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
“We have exhausted our purse trying to ensure that our athletes are not disappointed by participating in competitions, but presently we do not have such funds to sponsor them,’’ the source said.
One of the athletes, Abolaji Omotayo, 17, had during the trials at the Yaba College of Technology, said she was eager to raise the country’s flag at the continental event.
The athlete said she looked forward to proving her mettle, thereby work toward becoming a world-class athlete.
Nigeria’s absence at the event will give countries like Egypt, South Africa and Kenya a high chance of topping the medals chart.
NAN reports that in spite of the fact that the contingent to the last African Junior Championships in Addis Ababa in March, faced similar funds challenge.
But in spite of that, they topped the medal chart, winning 12 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze medals.
The national team had also won the maiden AYAC hosted by Nigeria in Warri in 2013 with 12 gold, 9 silver and 12 bronze medals. (NAN)