AYC: AFN Won't Select Overage Athletes


The Athletic Federation of Nigeria, AFN has said it has put in place measures to guard against age-cheats at the forthcoming Africa Athletics Youth Championships in Warri in March.

Commodore Omatseye Nesiama, Technical Director of the AFN, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN in Lagos that the championships, which are for ages 16 and 17, would hold between28-31 March.

According to Nesiama “I can assure that participating athletes at the championships will win through fair means because we are not hosting purposely to win, but to show example.

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“We will ensure that winning is not a do or die affair. There are talks already that we must win at all costs, but I am saying it is not compulsory to win. We are not hosting to win,’’ he said.  To Nesiama, athletes’ real age at the competition will be ascertained through their birth certificates and school records. He added that screening of athletes to ascertain their actual ages would also be conducted through documentation from their parents or guardians. “We must be able to host well without cheating. We are not going to take any athlete that has been in any athletic club for more than a year. “We are going to be serious with our screening because we need to nurture young athletes,’’ Nesiama disclosed.

He further stated that the Federation does not need over-aged athletes who would not be able to cope with youth programmes, as they progressed. “In fact, we are not going to allow athletes who are already running for clubs to feature because the competition is mainly to discover new and young talents.   “We have different programmes for different categories and if we get it wrong now, we will continue to miss our set objectives and we will be deceiving ourselves. “If we present a team that is truly the reflection of the ages required and we do not win, I have no problem about that. “I will be happy because we would have assembled the right age of athletes that will be groomed properly for future competitions,’’ he concluded.

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