AFN to inject new life into Nigeria’s athletics

President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Olamide George has assured Nigerians again the he and his board members have designed a programme that would bring life back into the sport that has suffered from maladministration in recent years.

He made the promise following the unveiling of AFN’s 2020 programme of activities in Abuja.

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

The AFN president told the media that the athletes would begin serious work towards the Olympics 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. There will be no prize money for this because it is an All-Comers affair,” he explained.

George, who became AFN president following the removal of Ibrahim Gusau said prize monies would be introduced at the Classics which will start from the first AFN Classics in Ado Ekiti at the end of February.

“We are bringing back the Classics, our annual series of elite athletics competitions, which produced so many champions for Nigeria in the past. So far, we have four legs of the competition, and we are looking to see if we can add a fifth,’ he said.

George added that that the AFN Classics after the National Sports Festival would be used to evaluate athletes’ performances for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“We will use the National Sports Festival to invite athletes to our African Championship and Olympics camp. After that, the AFN Classics will be used to evaluate their performances.

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

The AFN president then appealed for cooperation from Nigerians, especially the media saying that a new chapter of transparency and professionalism has opened in the administration of athletics in Nigeria.