24th November, 2011
President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, Solomon Ogba, has declared the federationâ€™s intention to stage Olympic trials for the nationâ€™s athletes next year June in Calabar. He said it is part of the federationâ€™s efforts to ensure that the best athletes represent the country in next yearâ€™s London Olympic.
Ogba revealed this at a media briefing to unveil the Federationâ€™s 2012 programme of events in Abuja. He explained that more Nigerian athletes are expected to qualify for the quadrennial sports fiesta, as the AFN plans to participate in more events that would boost the countryâ€™s chances to picking more slots to feature at the games.
He said it is necessary for the federation to access the fitness of the athletes before taking them to the Olympic. He added that the trial would offer the athletes an opportunity to prove their worth and convince the technical department of the federation that they are fit to beÂ in the team.
â€œThere is need for us to organise an Olympic trial for our athletes before selecting them for the events. Whatever our athletes achieved outside the country, they still need to come back home and prove themselves at the trial to convince our technical crew,â€ he said.
Ogba, however, regretted the dwindling fortune of sports in Nigeria, arguing that the country has what it takes to be one of the power houses in athletics including the distance races which have been dominated by countries like Kenya and Ethiopia.
He also reiterated the federationâ€™s commitment to bring back the glorious days of the nation in athletics by appointing the former international, Innocent Egbunike as the Chief Coach of the AFN.
The coachÂ will be assisted by 12 other ex-internationals who will be operating from the zones, apparently to fish out young talents who could be nurtured to stardom.
â€” Olusegun Abidoye