The 2023 edition of the Tobi/Abiola Sprint and Relays Meet is set to be bigger than organizers initially planned as athletics clubs and schools from four South Western States have expressed interest in participating.
An initiative of the world recorder holder in 100m hurdles Tobi Amusan and renowned quarter-miler Abiola Onakoya, both based in the United States.
The duo started the competition a few years ago to give budding athletes from Ogun State an opportunity to showcase their talents to be discovered and then get assistance and the support they need to take their career to the next level and if they merit it, a scholarship to study in tertiary institutions.
The success of the programme which started as an initiative for Ijebu Region, then Ogun State is now attracting the interest from schools and athletics clubs in the South West states.
Onakoya in an earlier interview revealed that the 2023 edition has the blessing of the Ogun State Governor, His Excellency Mr Dapo Abiodun who named Amusan Ogun State Youth Ambassador shortly after she broke the 100m hurdles record at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene.
A renowned shot-put and discuss champion Olawale Olatunji who is the Meet Director told the media that the 2023 edition will be held at the Otunba Dipo Dina stadium, Ijebu-Ode from November 3-4, 2023.
“We are really happy that schools and athletic clubs from outside Ogun State want to participate in this edition, it shows our youth are delighted with the opportunity Tobi/Abiola are providing for them to showcase their talents at venues where the talents will be discovered, where they will come in contact with coaches and other stakeholders in athletics that will assist to become world beaters like Tobi/Abiola’’.
Olatunji revealed that organizers are working on logistics to accommodate the interest of athletes from outside Ogun State.
“We are delighted to accommodate athletes from other states, the vision of the initiator of this project (Tobi/Abiola) is to make it a national, then continental and a global meet one day’’.
Amusan and Abiola Onakoya are beneficiaries of youth development programmes in Ogun State which led to their discovery as young athletes. They both got scholarships to study at the University of El-Paso, in Texas, USA.
Before they graduated from the school, both represented Team Nigeria at the youth, junior, and senior levels.
After winning laurels for Nigeria and being a good ambassador of the country, they believe the best way they could give back to their community is to give younger ones opportunities.
Amusan who also won the gold medal in the event is the first and only Nigerian to win a gold medal in the World Athletics Championships since the inaugural edition in 1983.
It is in recognition of her contributions to the growth of athletics from the grassroots and also her achievements that earned Amusan the ambassadorial role.
Apart from certificates and medals, winners of this edition will also go home with spike shoes, canvas, and other items, aside from the prizes that will be awarded to winning schools.