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13th African Games: AFN promises to overpass set target in Accra

Posted : 22 March 2024

The President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Chief Tonobok Okowa, is confident that Team Nigeria Athletics at the ongoing 13th African Games in Accra, Ghana, will surpass its projection.

Okowa made this statement shortly after Nigeria dominated the field on Day 3 of action at the University of Ghana, Legon, on Wednesday, winning four gold and a silver medal.

“I think we will surpass the target that was set at the beginning; let's see what happens. Our plan is to win the remaining two relays. I pray that it will happen like that, and then let's see what we have in the two that remain,” an elated Okowa said.

The gold medals won by the athletes came from the relays, 4×100m men and women, 100m hurdles by Tobi Amusan, and Chidi Okezie in the 400m men. Esther Elo Joseph got silver in the women's 400m.

“A lot of our boys who are in school are very talented, but they are not here. When they join this team, it is going to be difficult for us to select who will represent Nigeria.

It is good to have such stiff competition among them, but we will select the best possible team,” the man who oversees athletics in Nigeria stated.

Already, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria is working toward the African Championship and the Olympic Games in Paris.

Okowa, who is also the chairman of Delta State Sports Commission, says it is imperative that the Federation works hand in hand with the Federal Government to get the best out of these talented, committed, and determined athletes.

“It is important for us to come together with the Federal Ministry of Sports, and I hope they will understand our situation.”

He further explained that the Paris Games in July and August are a bigger and tougher competition.

“To prepare for the Olympics is a different ballgame; you have to start early, you have to support the athletes, and you have to make sure there is a way to provide them with stipends for upkeep so that they can train.”

The president of CAA Zone 3 added, “When we sit down with the ministry, they will tell us which way to go, and that will determine our sources.”

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria is also working with other corporate bodies to raise funds for the team.

“But before then, we will also start striving to see where we can get support for them, maybe from Premium Trust. We will see what we can get from them so that we can at least provide something for them,” he explained.

“There is no way athletes will not receive support; the financial commitment is what will help them, and they will feel appreciated,” Okowa concluded.

After three days of action on the track, Team Nigeria Athletics has won seven gold, two silver, and two bronze medals.


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