Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, Mr. Samuel Onikeku is confident Nigeria will break the 4 x 400m 8 years jinx that has been hunting the country’s quarter miler.
Onikeku disclosed that with the time the country’s quartermilersn are posting now it is sue that they will qualify for the next World Athletics Championships.
He said this after the just-concluded All-Comers Affairs Athletics Competition at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja last Saturday.
His words, “Well, we are very pleased especially for Samuel Ogazi running 44.89. When we went to Zambia with him, he ran three races and he was able to win the 400m with 46.01 and you know one of the events we wanted to qualify for at the world championship is the 4 x 400m. We have gotten somebody running 44.00, three persons are running 45.00 mins.
“So it is getting good for us now and we believe that we stand a better chance of qualifying for the world championship with our 4 x 400m team because it is taking like eight years that we have not qualify for the 4 x 400m in any international competition.
The former Nigeria track and field international said the Federation has lined up so many events.
He said they have more than enough competitions to engage their athletes in the days ahead.
According to him, “After this competition, the next competition will be the 2nd Golden League in Edo State on the 6th and 7th of June and after that we go to Uyo on the 23rd and 24th of June for the final Golden League and on the 6th to 9th of July, we will go to Asaba for the world championship selection trials. And after that, we will go to Togo for the African Region 2 Senior Championship.”
He further disclosed that better days are ahead for athletics because they just came back from Ndola with U18 and U20 athletes and then the senior athletes will soon be going to Togo and after that, they will go to Budapest. “In March, it is All African Games and August is Olympics. So it is going to be constantly and continuous competition for our athletes.”
The man who is also a World Athletics Level 1 coach also revealed that the objective of the just-concluded event in Abuja has been achieved.
“Patience Okon ran 51.00, we also saw some young U18 girls running 53.00. In the 100m women event, we have a new champion even though, Justina asked for medical exemption which we gave her to rest. It’s been a good competition.
“We are going to invite those we are taking to Botswana to camp immediately, we will just give them a day rest, on Tuesday, they will report for us to prepare for Botswana. We want to start using the home athletes because we have seen that they can run fast, we want to go and sharpen them up, we hope we will be able to do it in Botswana to try to qualify for more slots in the relay,” he concluded.