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Merit is our watchword in all our activities – Ibrahim Gusau

*No short cut to hardwork, success

*We are athlete-centre, coaches-focused and Nigerian-driven

By Olajide Fashikun

Hon Ibrahim Gusau, the newly elected President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has revealed the cardinal principle of his administration as justice, fairplay and merit in all relationship that concerns athletes, coach, technical officials etc in the quest to reposition our nation in the international arena.

Speaking in an interview with www.gongnews.net he said, “every athlete and coach will get whatever is due to them by these principles. Every call to represent our nation will be built on the anvil of merit. No short cut.”

For instance, three programmes are bestowed on us immediately. They are the World Championships in London, the Commonwealth Youth championships and the World youth in Bahamas.

Hon Ibrahim Gusau new AFN President...focused on growth of sport with merit as guide
Hon Ibrahim Gusau new AFN President…focused on growth of sport with merit as guide

For the World championship, we already qualified for the 4x400m women. Reading the reports of how the girls worked hard, ran like amazons to qualify is one story that lifts my soul. They will remain in America training and from there head to London. I urge them to work harder, run away from doping, and they can surprise the world. The experience matters and if the medals come, great.

Hon Ibrahim Gusau commended coach Victor Omagbemi and the lasses for a yeoman job. They were so focused, they sacrificed to achieve that result and we appreciate them. Every hardworking coach and athlete will get our support and push to make our nation great and proud.

For the youth championships, after the conclusion of the two day Making of Champions race, the great exploits of the athletes was heart warming. Coaches have worked hard on these kids and they too have worked hard to justify their choice to represent our nation.

Our priority is to help a whole lot of our coaches to earn better qualifications so we can have an effective coaching structure. By the grace of God, we shall lift our sport so high in terms of administration, grassroots development, elite development programme etc we are only waiting for the inauguration to unveil some of our plans and programmes.

One thing that is key, the former House of Representatives member stressed is we are athlete-centre, coaches-focused and Nigerian-driven. There are several challenges but we have a basic structure that will drive the change we seriously deserve and require. No resource will be left in the cold for us to grow our sport. Remember, athletics is the biggest sport in the country. The expectations are high.”

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