Two Nigerian athletes have raised concerns over the manner of their exclusion by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) from Team Nigeria’s contingent to the 2022 World Athletics Championships, taking place in Oregon, USA from July 15 to 24 this year.
The athletes took to their Instagram pages to express their displeasure at the way the national governing body (AFN) handled their affairs despite qualifying for one of the biggest championships.
America based sprinter Ezinne Abba who switch her allegiance from the United States to Nigeria recently, accused the authorities of being inconsiderate of her efforts at qualifying for the event by thwarting her dreams with 40 minutes before boarding the flight.
“It has always been my dream to compete for Nigeria on the world stage. but, despite reaching the world standard, flying to Nigeria alone, switching my allegiance from the US, and mentally/physically preparing myself after my first ever hamstring strain, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria has failed me” the 21-year old lamented.
“The negligence and egocentric actions of the minister and other admin have once again overcome the federation which negatively affects the athletes. Why am i being told 40 minutes before my flight to oregon, the week of competition, that i’m no longer competing because of their wrongdoings and irrational fear?” she queried.
” I have already passed 2/3 drug tests, but for some reason, I am not allowed to do my third test because of “fear of failure”. They speak repeatedly about trying to fix the broken system that is, Nigerian athletics by firing and hiring all new staff, but the corruption still lives. I, unfortunately, will not be competing at Worlds or the Commonwealth Games.”
In the same vein, another sprinter, Akintola Alabi also took to the social media site to pin-point the flaws in the selection procedure for the team despite qualifying for the 100M,200M and 4x100M at the championships.
“Sadly, I’m going to be out of world championship after I qualified for 3 events(100M,200M & 4*100M) not because I failed dope but because of politics”, he declared.
“They hid under the umbrella of OCT(out of competition test) meaning I didn’t submit my whereabouts or whatever(been on this … since march). They already cost me a major championship.”
Meanwhile, there are reports that only athletes with medal prospects were selected for the Championships including the Commonwealth Games.
The Minister for Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare in a statement advanced reasons why nine sports were selected for the Games.
He stated that podium finish remains one of the main parameters considered in selecting sports such like; Athletics, Wrestling, Boxing, Karate, Table Tennis, Weightlifting, Para-athletics, Para-powerlifting and Para-table tennis.