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Athletes begin quest for 2020 Olympics qualification in Akure

Athletes begin quest for 2020 Olympics qualification in Akure
February 14
18:08 2020

Praise Idamadudu will return to competitive track and field action, eight months after she was suspended by the Ibrahim Gusau-led Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

She returned on Friday as the home-based track and field athletes officially began the race towards making the qualification standard for the 2020 summer Olympic Games at the AFN all-comers competition at the Federal University of Technology in Akure.

Idamadudu was denied the chance to represent Nigeria at the All African Games in Rabat, Morocco and the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.

But Godwin Ogogo, president of track and field coaches of Nigeria, believed Idamadudu’s presence would have secured qualification for the women’s 4x400m to the Olympics.

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“She would have been a great addition to the women’s 4x400m team in Doha because she ran a sub 53 seconds (52.49) in 2018 and had done 11.59 seconds over the 100m in June 2019,” Ogogo said.

“She was also in the Nigeria team that ran 3:25.29 at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia in April 2018.”

The event, which is the first in a series of competitions in the 2020 AFN calendar, will also afford the athletes the opportunity to evaluate how far they have gone in their training.

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Ogogo said he is delighted with the turn out of athletes in Akure.

He also revealed that the event will provide them the needed test as they battle for the qualification standard for the two major competitions in the 2020 window — African Championships in Algeria and the Olympics in Japan.

“I am happy for the athletes who have been asking for competitions to not only test their readiness for the season but also battle to get the qualification standard for the two events,” Ogogo said.

“For the junior ones among them, the All-Comers will also give them the chance to get the qualification standard for the World Junior Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.

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“The athletes know that after the meet here in Akure, the next stop is Ado Ekiti where the AFN holds its first Classics competition. ‘

“I am particularly delighted the federation is reintroducing the classics which will engender competition among the athletes.

“They now know they have to perform before they can be invited to run and be entitled to accommodation, transport subsidy and prize monies.”

He, however, advised Olamide George, AFN president, not to be distracted in his bid to ensure Nigeria returns to the podium in Tokyo — just like the track and field team last did at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

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The federation also reiterated that Friday’s event will also serve as trials for the first AFN classics coming up in two weeks time.

Four athletes will qualify in each classics event while the remaining four will be selected at an all-comers competition that will be held a day before the classics.

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