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World athletics championships: Nigerian athletes get visas at last

*Officials, coaches still stranded in Abuja

*Tosin Oke cleared

At last, the recalcitrant and arrogant British High Commission has started to issue visas to some Nigerian athletes listed for the London 2017 World Athletics Championships, which started on Thursday.

For the past few days, AFN officials had been lamenting the delay by the British High Commission to issue visas for the athletes, coaches and officials to enable them jet into the championship venue in London early enough.

Some of the athletes, including sprint hurdler, Oluwatobiloba Amusan, Commonwealth Games long jump champion Ese Brume and quarter miler Patience Okon-George, as well as Secretary General of AFN, Amaechi Akawo, got their visas Thursday.

US-based Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and Emerald Egwin were early birds in the Nigerian camp which was readied by the duo of Mrs Maria Wooophil and Chief Mary Onyali. Egwin is in the women’s 4x400m relay team alongside Patience Okon-George, Ajayi Bamgbose and Abike Egbeniyi.

Officials and some of the coaches of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) are still battling to secure visas. How this will affect the quality of performance of the Nigerians has remained a mathematical conjecture.

The London 2017 World Championship which commenced Thursday with the preliminary of men’s 100m race among events on the schedule. Okagbare and other female sprinters, will take their turn on Friday for the 100m race.

African triple jump king, Tosin Oke, has been cleared by IAAF to compete in the London championship. The news about Oke’s registration for the triple jump event was conveyed by the IAAF to the AFN.

Oke’s addition has increased to 18 the number of Nigerian athletes that will compete at the championships following the addition of sprint hurdler, Lindsay Lindley in the 100m hurdles and the 4x100m women’s relay team.

Three athletes who had qualified were erroneously omitted. With Oke ensuring his qualification will make the chances of the west African nation look brighter.

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