…I’m optimistic Nigeria’s men 4x100m relay team will pick the World Championship ticket in Asaba – AFN boss Chief Okowa
Two African countries, The Gambia and Benin Republic have arrived in Asaba, the Delta State capital, ahead of the Warri Grand Prix holding at the Stephen Keshi Stadium Thursday.
The Warri Grand Prix is being held as a tribute to former Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Sports In Africa (SCSA), the late Dr. Awoture Eleyae, who died last Thursday in Benin City.
His pet project, the Awoture Eleyae’s U-14, U-15 and U-17 Championships has helped the country in discovering many young talents, including Divine Oduduru, Favour Ofili and Ese Brume between 2013 and 2014.
President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Tonobok Okowa, said the event will afford Nigeria’s men 4x100m relay team another chance to qualify for Budapest 2023 World Championship.
The Warri Grand Prix is a three-in-one event, with about five African countries competing in the 4x100m, 4x400m and mixed relays.
The Delta State Sports Commission has already directed all secondary schools in the three senatorial districts to produce three teams to compete in the 4x100m, 4x400m and mixed relays.
The Nigerian 4x100m relay team could not qualify for the World Championships in Budapest last Saturday in Cotonou, Benin Republic, following a mix up in their baton exchange.
Okowa stated that despite the fact that the athletes are yet to qualify after attempts in Lome, Togo, Yaba Tech in Lagos and Cotonou in Benin Republic, he is optimistic they will pick the ticket on Thursday in Asaba because they have all it takes to win a medal for Nigeria in Budapest.
“I still believe our athletes have all it takes to run the required time to take Nigeria to Budapest in the 4x100m relay. We have qualified in three relay events already, the women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and the mixed relay. It will be good if our men’s 4x100m team joins them on Thursday in Asaba.”
The late Dr. Awoture Eleaye was one of Nigeria’s pioneer sports administrators, who headed the SCSA from 1992 to 2004.
Dr. Eleyae was a member of many international professional bodies, and captained the Nigerian Basketball team to the first All Africa Games in 1965. He also designed the Nigerian Institute for Sports (NIS), and became the first principal of the Institute from 1975 to 1984, before he rose to the substantive post of Deputy Director of Sports, National Sports Commission (NSC) and also acted as Director General of the Commission from February 1981 to May, 1982.