By Sedara Oluwadara
Francis James is unarguably the youngest long distance athlete at the ongoing National Sports Festival taking place in Asaba, Delta State.
Aged 17 years, the teenager is representing Team Nasarawa in Athletics Events.
On Sunday(yesterday) the youngster narrowly missed the medal stage finish after clocking 31 minutes and 51 seconds to come 4th in the 10,000 metres race at the Stephen Keshi International Stadium 🏟️, behind older and more experienced athletes from Cross-River and Delta States, respectively.
In Senior Secondary School One(SS1), Francis will equally participate in the Marathon race for Team Nasarawa and possibly other Events like the Steeple Chase, 5000m and 800m before the end of the Festival.
Impressed and overwhelmed by the ingenuity of the Plateau State-born wonder athlete, the Nasarawa State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Amb. Lucky Isaac Yargwa, during his visit to the accommodation of Team Nasarawa in Asaba, instantly adopted and offered Francis immediate EMPLOYMENT into the State Ministry of Youth and Sports.
Every spectator in Asaba is caught in awe seeing the huge potential in the boy wonder and they have not hidden their admiration for him.
Philibus Sharubutu is the current champion of the Marathon race at the Sports Festival after he won Gold for Team Nasarawa in the 41 Kilometre contest in Benin City, Edo State, last year.
A mentor and legend in Track and Fields Sport in Nigeria, he is expected to nurture and groom young Francis to succeed him and become a global athletic figure.