As action gets underway on Wednesday at the 18th edition of African
Athletics Championships in Port Novo, Benin Republic, Nigerian athletes
who are yet to meet the ‘A’ standard of the 2012 London Olympics have
promised to throw in their all to secure qualification for the Games
even as they also jostle for the medals on offer.
For some of them who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES before departing the
shores of the country, winning medals alone won and missing out on the
be fulfilling for them.
President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba,
maintains that only athletes that meet the A standard will be given
opportunity to compete for Nigeria at the London Olympics thus making
victory alone at the just concluded national trials in Calabar
Eyes on London
Biola Onakoya, winner of the 400m men’s event in Calabar is one those
chasing Olympic qualification in Benin Republic. In a chat with PREMIUM
TIMES, Onakoya said the Benin Championships is a make or mar event for
“My dream as an athlete is to one day compete at the highest level
which is the Olympics. I believe I will get the A standards in Benin, I
ran inside 45secs in Calabar, I just need to run a little bit faster to
make the mark,” Onakoya who is now based in U.S said.
Apart from Onakoya and the other quatermilers, the likes of Damola
Osayomi, former African 100m champion, who was simply awful at the
Calabar national trials, will be attempting to make the best use of this
last chance availed them.
The 4x400m men’s, Heptathlon, triple jump, 200m, and 110m hurdles are
some events where some of the country’s athletes are still seeking to
make the A standards.
Each event of the Olympics has both A and B qualification standards but
the AFN said it will be sticking with athletes that make the A’s as they
better chance of representing the country well in London.
“We are not going for a jamboree in London. So, we are going with
athletes that we are sure they will at least get to the semi finals of
their events,” Mr. Ogba said.