Commonwealth Games: British champion begs to compete for Nigeria

British champion, Mike Edwards,

The British champion, Mike Edwards, is making a passionate appeal to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to allow him to follow his dream of representing Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games.

Edwards has been selected as Nigeria ‘s sole entrant for the Men’s High Jump event at the Commonwealth Games as the country seeks to have a representation in the event for the first time in almost 50 years.

It is, however, not looking good for Edwards who the IAAF says is ineligible due to the transfer of allegiance process being frozen.

Edwards was born in Manchester, England, but his mother is Nigerian, and his father is Jamaican.

As reported by UK website, Athletics Weekly, Edward was aware before travelling to Australia that the IAAF had frozen the transfer of allegiance process in order to stop athletes nation-hopping from one country to another.

But the high jumper felt he would be able to compete on the Gold Coast because he holds a Nigerian passport, the Commonwealth Games is not an IAAF event and, whereas he competed for Britain as an under-20 at the European Junior Championships, it was back in 2009.

In registering his displeasure, Edward took to his Facebook page to share this: “No shame. I’ll stand here every day until IAAF makes a change. It’s wrong what they’re doing. I’ve come too far. I’ve sacrificed way too much to fold at the Commonwealth Games. Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

“As a law abiding dual citizen of Great Britain and Nigeria, I should have every right to represent #TeamNigeria regardless if I chose to represent my birth country GB almost a decade ago, at a Jr. level Championship.

“I may not be the most decorated athlete in the world but I’m resilient. Remember, it’s been nine years since my last major Championship. I don’t quit easy… This sign is a representation of the levels I’m willing to take it too. I just want to compete. Call me back IAAF”.

Edwards won the British Indoor Championships in February this year and he is a bright medal prospect for Team Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games.

While the British Athletics Association have no reservations against Edwards’ choice to compete for Nigeria, the IAAF are the only clog in the wheel for the high jumper.

The Commonwealth Games will hold from April 4 through 15 in Gold Coast, Australia.

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Tunde Eludini is a graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria where he studied International Relations. He is a Senior Correspondent coordinating the sports section for PREMIUM TIMES. Twitter@tundeyeludini

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