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Golden League: We had great fun, exposure – Onaara Obamuwagun

*Win gold in Commonwealth Games, get brand new car

By Abdulrahman Mohammed, Kaduna

Kaduna, the hazy northern town, was a nightmare during the first leg of the Golden League last weekend where newbies who had their baptism in championship and on tartan said they enjoyed the experience whereas the older athletes complained of the heavy wind which radiated between +3.0s/m to +5.50s/m.

Sunday Janet, Rhoda Obamuwagun and Onaara Obamuwagun
Sunday Janet, Rhoda Obamuwagun and Onaara Obamuwagun

One of the newbies spoken to by www.gongnews.net is Onaara, a Lagos-based long jump athlete who said, “I had looked up to my debut on tartan and the golden League. I am not disappointed. I did not do as good as I was doing in training under the watchful guidance of my coaches: Adu Uruemu and Olu Sule. But I am sure anxiety of a first timer and many other factors are the causes.

Five of the newbies are Sunday Janet, Rhoda Obamuwagun, Lekan Amodemaja, Moyebi Yoyu and Onaara Obamuwagun.

“For me, it is great fun. This coupled with meeting the legend, Chief Mary Onyali, who gave me my first spike shoe

Coach Isa Hassan, Chief Onyali, Mr Fashikun, Vincent Akinbami and RayPower's Studio manager in Kaduna
Coach Isa Hassan, Chief Onyali, Mr Fashikun, Vincent Akinbami and RayPower’s Studio manager in Kaduna

some weeks ago. Three of us who made our debut walked up to her and she gave us so much words of encouragement. She asked us not to be like her but better than her.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI) were guests of Ray Power FM. They were given the opportunity to tell the listening public about their plans for the nation’s youths. Vincent Akinbami and Balarabe Katung hosted the duo of Chief Onyali and Mr Fashikun alongside the Kaduna NUJ Secretary, Issa Hassan.

They disclosed that Plateau State will be having the second National Athletics Development Centre in Jos in what the NSDFI tagged as the Mamabilla Project. The project is a middle and long distance project which had been designed to be hosted by four communities in the nation’s high altitude zone. The four communities are Plateau (Jos, Vom and Shendam), Kagoro in Kaduna State, Gembu in Taraba State and Mubi (in Adamawa State).

Mr Isa Hassan in his comment praised the NSDFI initiatives. “This is what we had long sought. I am so happy this is not a plan but it has started being implemented. The story of the experiment in Offa and your advocacy visits across board has been followed. We, as Nigerians, have to rise and support the project. It is the way to go.”

Emmanuel Gyang watch while Deborah Pam gets handshake and promise from AFN President, Shehu Ibrahim-Gusau
Emmanuel Gyang watch while Deborah Pam gets handshake and promise from AFN President, Shehu Ibrahim-Gusau

Also, the winners of the 5,000metres at the Golden League, Emmanuel Gyang and Deborah Pam, were told by the President of the AFN, Dr Shehu Ibrahim-Gusau, to work harder as the face of middle and long distance today in the country to work harder and enjoy the renewed plans of the AFN for their field.

Ibrahim-Gusau told the two of them, “go and intensify your training. I will give the two of you brand new cars if you can surprise the East Africans coming for the Commonwealth Games. Get the gold and claim your cars.” Coach Stephen Nuhu was there when the President gave the wager to the athletes.

It would be recalled that the President had told Blessing Okagbare to go to the last Commonwealth Games, secure a gold and get a brand new car. She did and got the car. Then, Gusau was distanced from the sport.

However, many of the athletes were thrilled that for the very first time, they got accommodation, feeding and transport subsidy from the AFN for a Golden League meet. It was never like this for a long time. This is the very first time I am enjoying this since I joined athletics in the last six years. If they continue like this, the sky is going to be our new target,” said a senior athlete who begged not to be named.

Samuel Adams Kure and Kelechi Nwanaga, the nation’s male and female javelin champions in their private chats with Hon Shehu Ibrahim-Gusau got a moral boost. “We are determined to give all departments in athletics equal support structures to boost athlete confidence. Was told by Fashikun that you guys will get aerodynamic javelins soon. I wish you will be boosted to work harder. I am expecting the gold medals from you and see what surprise packages we have for you. We are determined to reward hardwork in this regime.”

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