Athletics Federation of Nigeria sets June 16-21 date for national trials

Athletics Federation of Nigeria sets June 16-21 date for national trials
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The 2021 Nigeria National Championships and Invitational Relays will hold between Wednesday June 16 and Monday June 21, 2021 at the Yaba College of Technology Sports ground in Yaba, Lagos, according to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.

Prince Adeniyi Adisa Beyioku, Secretary General of the federation said that this year’s  championships will be used as selection trials to pick Nigeria’s contingent to the delayed Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo which is scheduled to hold from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

In a letter sent to state athletics associations, military, para military and clubs, the AFN informed that the event will take place under strict compliance with the Covid-19 sports code protocols put in place by the Federal Government of Nigeria for sports engagement.

The AFN also revealed that Wednesday June 16 will be for arrivals of invited athletes and others who have met the competition’s entry standard at designated hotels while the competition proper will start on Thursday June 17 and run for four days.

”The AFN is set to host another top class national championships and this year’s edition will be used to select the athletes who will represent Nigeria at the delayed 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan from late next month,’ said Beyioku.

The AFN Secretary General also revealed a six-nation invitational relay will be held on the side-lines of the National Championships.

‘The invitational relays have become very important as it, for now, remains the only window left for Nigeria to secure qualifications for the relay events of the Olympics.

‘We know our women’s 4x100m team have qualified provisionally for Tokyo and we are confident others will also make the cut before the June 29, 2021 final deadline for qualification.’

The Nigerian men’s 4x100m and the women’s 4x400m teams are just a step from making it to Tokyo as they are ranked 17th in their respective events.

The men’s 4x100m team has a best of 38.59 seconds that has placed the team just outside the qualification ranking and needs to run at least 38.45 seconds to move into 16th spot ahead of Trinidad and Tobago (38.46) and Turkey (38.47).

The women’s 4x400m team is also placed 17th with the 3:30.32 it ran at the African Games in 2019 and will need to break 3.30 to sneak into the qualification spot although a sub 3.29 will seal qualification without looking at their backs.

Meanwhile, Beyioku listed Zambia, Botswana, Benin Republic, Cameroon and Zimbabwe as the five countries confirmed to join Nigeria in the relay event in Lagos.

‘Apart from the relays, the championships is also the final window for our athletes to qualify for their individual events.

‘So far 11 athletes have qualified and they are Blessing Okagbare (100m,200m), Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha, Favour Ofili (200m), Tobi Amusan (100m Hurdles), Ese Brume (Long Jump), Ruth Usoro (Long and Triple Jump), Annette Echiunwoke (Hammer Throw), Divine Oduduru (100m, 200m), Raymond Ekevwo (100m), Usheoritse  Itshekiri (100m) and Chukwuebuka Enekwechi (Shot Put)”

The National Championships is the flagship event of the AFN where the nation’s top athletes will converge to compete for honours and qualifications for major Championships and Games.

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