AFN Presidential Aspirant, Thomas Promises to Make Schools Performance Hub

Sports journalist, Olukayode Thomas who is aspiring for the position of President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) in the election slated for June 13, has promised to make high schools and intercollegiate the hub of athletics, if elected.
Thomas, with over two decades’ experience in athletics, said the bane of athletics in Nigeria is lack of development at the high school and intercollegiate levels.
He revealed that global leaders in athletics like United States of America, Jamaica, Great Britain and lately South Africa, have robust athletics programmes with the Mother of Sports being part of the school curriculum.
“Sports today, especially athletics, are no longer a part of our school curriculum. Students pay sports levy but schools rarely do sports”.
Thomas revealed that for Nigeria to harness her huge potential in athletics, it must follow the American example,
“America’s huge success in sports is down to the perfect marriage of sports and education at the intercollegiate level. Higher education began in Nigeria in 1948 and we joined the modern Olympics family at the Helsinki 52 games. No student from a Nigerian university has won an Olympic gold medal, while 86 American universities’ students have won Olympic gold medals. Wake Forest University, a private University in North Carolina, has students who won three gold medals. The same number of gold medals Nigeria has won since 1952.”
Thomas said universities like South California have students who won 144 gold medals, Stanford 139, UCLA 123 but 128 if you include medals won by staff, University of California Beverley 117 and University of Michigan 68 gold medals.
Thomas promised to work with the National Universities Commission to ensure that athletics is not just part of the school curriculum but that all Universities introduce athletics scholarships for talented students and introduce a lucrative intercollegiate athletics league.
He also promised to work with state governors to ensure that athletics is part of the school curriculum at high schools and is compulsory.
“The latest sensation in athletics is 12 year old Jamaican High School student, Brianna Lyston, who is doing a sub-24 sec. Same time our senior athletes here are running today because we don’t give opportunities early ”.
He said Nigerian athletes who were successful like Yussuf Alli, Chidi Imoh, Innocent Egbunike, Falilat Ogunkoya, Olapade Adeniken, Mary Onyali, got involved in school sports in the 1970s and 80s,
“This largely accounted for them being discovered early. Also, most of our Olympics and World Championships medallists like Egbunike, the Ezinwa brothers, Ogunkoya, Olapade, Oluyemi, Imoh, Fatimah Yusuf, Onyali, Ajayi Agbebaku, Sunday Uti, Rotimi Peters, Blessing Okagbare, etc were products of the American University system.
“We can replicate this in our universities just like the Jamaicans did. This will be my main focus if elected president” said Thomas.

1 Comment on this Post

  1. Seun Ogbeide

    Politically, Thomas Sankara (RIP) did it in BukinaFaso,It was a revolution – So also in the Arena of sporting activities our Nation needs Thomas Olukayode. Vote Thomas Olukayode as AFN President come June 13, 2017. Thanks and God bless 9ja.


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