The sports ground of Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos will come alive Thursday morning when the 2nd Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, All Comers competition begins.
The competition is serving as official selection trials for the 22nd African Senior Champioinships in Athletics which holds between 8 and 12 of June, 2022 in Mauritius.
Samuel Onikeku, the technical director of the AFN says the two-day competition will not only give athletes the opportunity to gauge how far they have gone with their training, it will also give them the chance to secure the qualification standard for the flagship event of the Confederation of African Athletics, CAA.
‘The qualification window closes on Saturday 30th of April and this competition is serving as the final opportunity for those who have not met the standard for the competition to do so,’ said Onikeku, a former sprinter.
Onikeku is also confident the event will throw up some world class performances like Nigerians witnessed last year.
‘The incredible performances of Enoch Adegoke and Grace Nwokocha have given our home based athletes and the coaches the confidence that they do not need to go abroad before they can secure qualification to global athletics championships and games.
‘I remember it was at the Yabatech sports ground that Adegoke ran 10.00s in the 100m event to win the Nigerian championships.The time remains the fastest legal time ever ran on Nigerian soil by a home based athlete. In fact only Deji Aliu, the 1994 World Junior 100m champion has run faster (9.98s at the 2003 Nigerian Championships in Abuja).
‘Nwokocha also ran 11.09s as a home based athlete last year and both she and Adegoke went to the Olympics in Tokyo to confirm their emergence as the next queen and king of the track in Nigeria,’ said Onikeku.
Some of the athletes to watchout for at the event include Praise Ofoku, the World U20 100m finalist and 4x100m bronze medal winner who ran a new 11.49s personal best in the 100m event at the first AFN All Comers in Benin City last month.
Tima Seikeseye Godbless, a World U20 4x100m bronze medal winner is also one to watchout for, same as Ogheneovo Nicholas Mabilo, the 19 year old who improved his personal best twice from the 10.41 he ran at the Nigerian Championships last year first to 10.37s and an impressive 10.24s in Benin last month.
Another teenager, Adekalu Nicholas Fakorede also showed a bit of consistency, opening his season with 10.26s last month in Benin to equal his personal best he first set at the Nigerian Championships last year in Lagos.