Onikeku rates 2022 AFN C/wealth Games, World Championship trials high

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Technical Director, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Samuel Onikeku has expressed delight over the performances of Nigeria athletes at the just concluded 2022 AFN Commonwealth Games and World Championship trials in Benin, Edo State on Sunday.

The 100m men and women events produced new champions as Favour Ashe ran 9.99s in the men’s race while Grace Nwokocha clocked 11.03s in the women’s event.

The Ex Athlete said standard of athletics in Nigeria is drastically improving and the high spirit of competitiveness is returning to the second most popular sport in Nigeria.

While speaking on the general success of the trials, Onikeku said, “The Commonwealth Games and World Championship trials have ended well and the world has seen some superlative performances especially in the 100m Women with the time of 11.03s while in the 100m men had a time of 9.99s.

“The last time an athlete ran a sub nine in the country was in 2003 by former National Champion, Deji Aliu; so these has made the competition to go well. The Federation are excited with the performance of the 4x100m men and hopefully that they participate in the World Championship in Oregon next July.”

Onikeku revealed that plans are underway for Team Nigeria to begin camping exercise in the United States of America (USA).

“Nigeria is ready for the World Championship and plans are in progress to ensure the athletes camp in US before the World Championship begins.

“If you are observant, you will notice that our relay team have not been together for a long time; in fact they practiced just two days to the trials. Once the Federation is able to finalise plans, the relay team will spend more time together to practice and run better time. Our target is to get to the finals first and possibly shock the world by picking a medal.”

He expressed optimism that Nigeria can win more medals at the forthcoming World Championship in Oregon.

He said, “For the World Athletics Championship, the Federation believes that the athletes will still continue to make that podium performance.

“Remember Ese Brume has been performing well in all International Championships she has been participating in, also believe that Tobi Amusan will come through because of her excellent performances in the last six months.”

“National Champion, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi in the shot can scale through with his current form and the present 4x100m men have a brighter prospect”, he added.

Credit:Kuti Dare Guttaso

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