Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, has shifted the training camp for the final leg of preparations for the Africa U18 and U20 championships to Asaba, the capital of Delta state with the arrival date also shifted by a day.
The Championships will hold from April 29 to May 3, 2023 in Ndola, Zambia.
Samuel Onikeku, the Technical Director of the federation says in a statement the shifting of the venue from the High-Performance Centre in Abuja to Asaba is to enable the athletes to train with the best of equipment which was used at the 21st National Sports Festival held just last December in the state.
‘The AFN is desirous of giving the athletes the best of preparations hence the decision to move them to Asaba where they will have the opportunity of training with the latest equipment without distraction,’ says Onikeku.
‘The invited athletes are now to arrive in Asaba from Wednesday, April 12, 2023, to begin preparations for the Championship which has helped to produce some of the household names in Nigerian track and field today.’
Over 55 athletes have been invited to camp as the AFN begins the process of unearthing the next big stars who will go on to make history at international Championships and Games.
Some of the invited athletes include Tima Godbless who successfully completed a sprint double at the National Sports Festival in Asaba last December and Faith Okwose, the 17-year-old who rose from a 12 seconds runner early in 2022 to set a new 11.44 personal best en route to winning the 100m silver at the Festival.
Also listed are 18-year-old Ronke Ashabi who set a new Nigeria 3000m U20 record at the AFN U20 trials in Kaduna, Sule Rejoice Adijatu, Okpah Elo Blessing, Aladeloye Adetutu Funmilayo, Immaculate Daniel, Rosemary Etim, and Grace Sule.
Nigeria finished third (13 gold, six silver, and 13 bronze medals) behind South Africa and Kenya in the last edition of the championships held at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Enoch Adegoke won the 100m gold at the championships and made history as the first Nigerian in 25 years to run in the 100m final at the delayed Tokyo Olympics barely two years later.
Favour Ofili set a new championship best in the 200m and 400m en route to completing the U18 double at the championships.
Ofili is now the Nigerian record holder in the 200m indoor (22.11) and outdoors (21.96).