*We have never had it this good
By Oluwole Francis
Athletes and coaches have commended the leadership of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) led by President Ibrahim Gusau not just beginning the 2017/2018 season with the annual All-Comers competition in good time but also accepting the insurance package for them.
The early calendar would help athletes to enhance preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and other international tournaments. Though, some coaches had complained that the trial for the Games scheduled for December would disorganise their training programme leaving many of the athletes with a possible injury.
Many of the athletes who spoke to www.gongnews.net expressed their gratitude to the proactive AFN leadership.
The two-day All-Comers championship used to hold in January each year and followed by other national competitions until the 2017/2018 edition holding this last weekend’s Friday and Saturday.
According to them, more rooms for competition will help in bringing out the best from athletes. They praised the fact that the first leg of the Golden League coming up in Kaduna will add to the championships meant to tune the athletes before the Commonwealth trial.
Adebola Kabiril, a decathlete from Nigeria Peace Corps, expressed appreciation to the AFN for beginning the season early.
“This edition is better. We did not have medicals though but the timing of the event is coming earlier than it used to, which is better for athletes to prepare for competitions. The new board of AFN is proving its determination to bring more glory to the nation through athletics. When I heard about the insurance too, I feel so proud.
Similarly, Grace Ayemoba, a 100m flat and 100m hurdle athlete with Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said she was happy with the development. “Organising the All-Comers in November is an innovation that will give athletes more room to get in shape ahead of international competitions in 2018 and beyond. It is a welcome development that will help athletes to be more focused and compete better with their counterparts around the world, AFN should keep it up,’’ she said.
Also, Rosemary Chukwuma, the 200m winner of the All Comers also commended the timing of the event.
“I am glad for this year’s All-Comers, I will ensure it gives me the opportunity to get shortlisted for other events that will qualify me for the Commonwealth Games and hopefully, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan,’’ she said.
Over 200 male and female athletes registered to compete for different categories of track and field events.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held in Gold Coast, Australia between 4th to 15th April.