Sports Minister, Okowa praise athletes as team returns from Mauritius

By Daily Sports Nigeria on June 14, 2022

Views: 128

• Ogba heads National Trials in Benin

The first batch of Nigeria’s contingent to Mauritius 2022 African Senior Athletics Championship returned to the country yesterday with Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, praising the athletes for their third-place finish.

Also, the president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Tonobok Okowa, has hailed the athletes, saying that the future is bright for the nation’s athletics.

Despite missing some of her top-rated athletes, including Tokyo Olympics medallist, Ese Brume, Team Nigeria was able to put up a credible outing in Mauritius, showing her strength in both track and field events, capturing a total of 11 medals made up of five gold, three silver and three bronze medals to finish third on the medal table behind Kenya and South Africa.

Dare said the performance of the athletes underlines the positive attitude of Nigerian sportsmen and women, as well as the fighting spirit that makes them succeed against all odds and thrive in the most difficult situations.

“Even in the absence of some of our top-rated athletes, who could not make it to Mauritius, Team Nigeria still fought gallantly and defended our colours brilliantly. We are so proud of them,” the minister said.

Okowa said the team’s performance gives him cause for optimism. “We have every reason to celebrate because the project we started just under a year ago is already bearing fruits,” an elated Okowa stated.

Okowa reveals that the federation’s investment in the youth and junior athletes is paying off handsomely. “Most of our top athletes who have been doing great things in the American collegiate circuit were not in Mauritius due to school commitments, but we have been able to show our strength in depth.”

Okowa is also thrilled by the feat achieved by Oyesade Olatoye, who made history by winning the country’s first ever-gold medal in the women’s Hammer throw.

“Olatoye has now qualified for the World Championship in Oregon and this she achieved with her performance in Mauritius. Chukwuebuka (Enekwechi) also set a new championship record in the men’s Shot Put. I was told it was the only competition record set at the event in Mauritius.

“This year alone, a few Nigerian records, some of them deemed untouchable, have been broken by athletes, who competed at the World U20 Championships last year,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the AFN has named Benin City as the host city for Commonwealth Games and, World Championships trials.

AFN Secretary-General, Prince Adisa Beyioku, said the Nigerian Championship, which serves as selection for the two major competitions starting in July, will run from June 21 to June 23.

Beyioku named former two-time president of the AFN, Solomon Ogba, as chairman of the national trial in Benin City.





Source The Guardian Nigeria

Posted June 14, 2022


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