AFN foresees excellent outing for athletes at Olympics

Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President, Tonobok Okowa, believes that Team Nigeria athletes will live up to expectations when the battle for medals begin at the Paris 2024 Olympics Games later this year.

Okowa, who is in Accra, Ghana, attending the ongoing 13th African Games, is confident the athletics team will surpass its projections at the Games.

On Wednesday, Nigerian athletes outperformed their opponents, harvesting majority of the event’s gold medals at the University of Ghana Stadium. On a single day, Nigeria won four gold and one silver medal.

An elated Okowa stated after the 4x100m relay team event, where Nigeria cleared the available gold medals in the men and women’s races, that he is sure of a brilliant outing at Paris Olympics.

He promised that after the African Games, the athletics team would be made stronger ahead of the Paris Olympics.

“Many of our athletes are in school in the United States, and they are very hot. They are not here for the African Games. By the time they join this team, it is going to be difficult for us to select who to represent Nigeria. It is good for such stiff competition among them, but we will get the best squad possible for the Olympics,” he said.

Apart from two gold medals won by the duo of thrower, Enekwechi Chukwuebuka and triple jumper, Ruth Usoro, on day three of the athletics event, Team Nigeria grabbed four gold medals in the relays, 4×100m men and women, 100m hurdle through Tobi Amusan and Chidi Okezie in the 400m men. Esther Elo Joseph got silver in the women’s 400m.

To Okowa, more medals will come for Team Nigeria in Ghana. “I think we will surpass the target that was put at the beginning. Let’s see what happens. Our plan is to take the remaining two relays and I pray it will happen.”

He explained that the AFN is working towards the African Championship in Cameroon and the Olympic Games in Paris, adding that it is imperative that the Federation work closely with the Federal Government to get the best out of the talented, committed and determined athletes.

“It is for us to really come together with the Federal Ministry of Sports, and I hope they will understand our plight. To prepare for the Olympics is a different ballgame. You have to start early, and you have to support the athletes. You have to make sure there is a way to give them little stipends for upkeep so that they will be able to train well. When we meet with the ministry, they will tell us which way to go and that will determine a lot of things.”

Okowa revealed that the AFN is also working with other corporate bodies to raise funds for the team.

The president of African Zone 2 Athletics, added: “Before then, we will also start striving to see where we can get support for the athletes.Maybe from Premium Trust, we will see what we can get from them, so that we can at least get something for the athletes. There is no way athletes will not get support. The financial commitment is what will help them and they will feel beloved.”

Back to top button