The Main Organising Committee of the Channels Track and Field has announced that the second edition of the athletics competition will take between November 13th and 14th 2019 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
At a press briefing ceremony, the chairman of the committee, Steve Judo confirmed that the major objective of the event is to discover talents and review athletics in schools.
He added, “We must keep discovering talents. That is the charge the visioner, Mr John Momoh has given to us and the best place to start is the schools. We have done a good job for football through the Channels International Kids Cup, we must do the same with other sports and that’s why we are on a mission to revive athletics in Nigeria.”
The Channels Track and Field Classics was launched last year and the success it achieved is a clear testament that there are talents are the grassroots that must be discovered and nurtured.
The first edition produced admirable talents. Winner of the girls 100 and 200 metres event Alimot Alowonle has represented Nigeria at continental events and has been tipped as future track star if groomed properly.
Fatola Adedoyin of Oreyo Grammar School, Ikorodu also got the attention of spectators. Nicknamed the “Nigerian Usain Bolt”, Adedoyin ran so well to win the boys 200 metres and 400 metres event. His long-term aspiration is to win an Olympic gold medal. The Channels Track and Field Classics gave him a platform to dream.
The competition is for U-17 boys and girls in Lagos State secondary schools. Former Nigerian athlete Henry Amike is the consultant for the project and he hinted there are plans to take the talent search Nationwide.
“We are trying to bring back the glory days of athletics in Nigeria. We believe Nigerian athletes can do well at international events.
“Take the just concluded World Athletics Championship in Doha as a case study, a Nigerian that left the country in less than five years, won gold in the women’s 400 metres event. It is a big slap on us, it means we are not doing the right things.”
Amike who holds the national record of 48.50 seconds in the men’s 400 metres hurdles emphasized that Channels Track and Field Classics has been designed to correct the foundational problems of athletics in the country.
“We want to ensure that we build talents from the schools that will improve and gain international recognition.
Last year, athletes featured in 8 events. This year, it has been increased to 10. The track events are; 100M (boys and girls), 200M (boys and girls), 100M hurdles (girls), 110M hurdles (boys) 400M (boys and girls), 4x100M (boys and girls), 4x400M (boys and girls).
The field events are; long jump, high jump and shotput.
The Channels Track and Field Classics is supported by the Lagos State Sports Commission and the director of the school sports directorate, Mrs Oluyomi Oluwasanmi believes it’s a productive platform to discover and nurture talents.
“We must commend Channels Television for this laudable project. We say it everyday that government cannot do it alone and that’s why we don’t hesitate to support private initiative such as this athletics event. We must keep it going.” She concluded.
Over 50 secondary schools, public and private from 6 educational districts in Lagos state have been selected to compete at the second edition of the athletics event.