The Athletics Federation of Nigeria example

Secretary-General Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Bamiduro Olumide said that the federation had, in recent time, intensified efforts to raise and groom athletes that would represent the country at major national and international games.
“One way of achieving this is adopting a level fair playing method which gives all athletes an opportunity to showcase their talents.
“The AFN has introduced the All Comers Athletics Meet aimed at allowing all athletes to compete and show their stuff,’’ he said recently at an event in Port Harcourt.
During the third edition of the All Comers Athletics Meet at the High Performance Sports Centre, University of Port Harcourt, Olumide noted that more than 600 athletes from clubs, institutions, the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Customs Service and states took part in the event.
According to him, one of the participants, Oluwayemi Blessing, a student of the University of Port Harcourt, takes fourth position in the men’s long jump event.
“I feel proud taking part in this event. It served as an avenue for exposure and I gained a lot from it,’’ he quoted the participants as saying.
He said Omovoh Knowledge, a student of the University of Benin, who won the women 400-metre race, admitted that she also gained from Athletics Meet.
In the same vein, Elizabeth Ahuwan, a student of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, won the women 400-metre hurdles at the event.
“The Athletics Meet is a good innovation for young athletes. We have been given the opportunity to showcase our talents and what we can do for our country. I benefitted from it and I am happy with the exposure,’’ she said.
Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, the Technical Director of the federation, said that All Comers Athletics Meet was used to assess current status of athletes.
“The AFN will use the All Comers Meet to select and invite athletes for the Golden League event.
“The first leg of the League will take place at the Rojenny Stadium in Anambra and the objective is to discover and assess our athletes.
“Because it is open, there are provisions for discoveries to be made, but it is not just for discoveries.
“In terms of assessment of their current standards, whatever performance they put up, we will judge it with the previous performances they have had this season,’’ Nesiama said.
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Sharing similar sentiments, Olumide said that the AFN would give athletes the opportunity to showcase their talents.
“The Golden League is another strategic plan by the Technical Committee of the federation to assist athletes in performance before mega games such as the All African Games, Commonwealth Games or the Olympic Games,’’ he said.
In his remark, Dr Ken Anugweje, Director of Sports, University of Port Harcourt, commended the AFN for introducing All Comers Meet and using the university’s high performance centre.
He also observed that 50 per cent of athletes that took part at the All Comers Athletics Meet were students of the university.
He said that the authorities of the institution were determined to make the university a centre for sports excellence.
“The vice-chancellor of the university has said on many occasions that this university is a centre of excellence in sports and it is undisputable,’’ he said.
At the end of the event, both Olumide and Nesiama agreed that it would assist the federation to discover new and budding athletes.
They also share similar opinion that the federation would use the event to select athletes that will represent Nigeria at the World Youth Championship scheduled for Cali, Colombia in July.
They note that such athletes will form part of Nigeria’s team to the senior athletics championship in Beijing, China in August.
Expressing confidence in the activities of the federation, Nesiama said it had discovered some talents but it would take time for the athletes to become elites.
“We have good athletes at the junior level that did well in an international tournament; some of them will rise to peak at the Olympic games in 2016,’’ he said
All in all, sports enthusiasts suggest that the All Comers Athletics Meet should be a continuous event to discover more talents.(NANFeatures)
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