Athletics Federation says Nigeria Out Of World Relays

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The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has announced that athletes from the country will not be participating in this year’s World Athletics relays billed to start from May 1st to 2nd in Poland,  AFN’s factional president, Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, said in a statement.

A leadership crisis has been rocking the Nigerian athletics body with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development backing a faction headed by Olamide George.

“Nigeria will not participate in the World Relays because the Ministry of Youth and Sports opted to take the athletes to a training tour in the United States for the same relays, they are yet to qualify for, instead of a pre- Olympic Games qualification in Poland,” the statement said.

“The information at our disposal is that athletes who were supposed to represent Nigeria at the World Athletics Relays in Silesia, Poland were taken to the USA Embassy to obtain visas for a training tour of an event they were yet to qualify for.”

“The scheduled relays in Poland were meant to enable Nigeria to secure qualification for the Olympic Games in Tokyo but to our disbelief, the athletes’ passports were diverted to the USA Embassy to secure visas for a training camp for an event they are yet to qualify for.”

“How can a qualification competition in Poland which was our best bet be ignored for a training camp in the USA?. This is one of the numerous reasons why sports in Nigeria should be allowed to be administered according to international best practices.” the statement added.

However, John Akanji, the media aide to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, denied claims that the ministry scuttled Nigeria’s participation.

Akanji, who said Shehu-Gusau is not the recognised AFN president, confirmed the development, saying, “the athletes were denied visas by the Polish embassy.”

 

Chidi Nwoke/Punch.

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