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AFN president: Our athletes will excel in 2020 Olympics

AFN president: Our athletes will excel in 2020 Olympics
January 28
19:01 2020

Olamide George, president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), says the country’s athletes will achieve a “memorable” outing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

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George disclosed this at the unveiling of AFN’s 2020 programme of activities in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said the programme was designed to bring life back into the sport that has suffered from maladministration in recent years.

“We have made athletes the focus of our programme and have designed one that will ensure they attain optimum performance level for both the African Championships and the Olympics,” George said.

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The AFN president also disclosed that the athletes will begin running, throwing and jumping from February, with the all-comers competition in Akure.

“We have secured the venue and will provide accommodation for athletes based on last year’s performance,” he said.

“There will be no prize money for this because it is an All-Comers affair.”

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He also revealed that cash price will be introduced at the classics proper which will start at the end of next month in Ado Ekiti.

“We are bringing back the Classics, our annual series of elite athletics competitions which produced so many champions for Nigeria in the past,” he said.

“So far we have four legs of the competition and we are looking to see if we can add a fifth.”

George also disclosed that the AFN classics, which comes up after the national sports festival, will be used to evaluate athletes’ performances for the Olympics.

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“We will use the National Sports Festival to invite athletes to our African Championship and Olympics camp,” he added.

“After that the AFN Classics will be used to evaluate their performances. We know there are athletes who may not reach peak form at the Festival and the AFN Classics will give these athletes the opportunity to get into our pre-African Championships and Olympics camp.”

He assured that the AFN is determined to return Nigeria to the podium at the Olympics – 12 years after the country won a pair of medals in the sport in Beijing, China.

“We have some athletes that have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and through the competitions we have lined up, we are trying to get a few more to make the qualification standard,” he said.

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“More importantly, we need to get our relay teams to qualify for the quadrennial event. We are going to compete in some relays in the USA and Europe as well as utilise the two windows we will have at the African Championships in Algeria in June to either secure or cement our qualifications.”

He allayed fears that the so-called crisis in the administration of the sport will distract the federation from executing its programmes for the Olympics.

“There is no crisis in AFN. We are focussed on the Olympics and have submitted our programme to our supervisory body, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development,” he said.

“We are lucky to have professionally minded and committed people in the Ministry headed by the indefatigable Sports Minister, Mr Sunday Dare.

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“Recall his adoption programme in Lagos last December. It has helped greatly in reassuring our elite athletes that Nigeria is backing them all the way to the podium in Tokyo 2020 and beyond.”

The 2020 summer Olympics — officially known as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad — is scheduled to commence from July 24 to August 9 in the city of Tokyo, Japan.

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