As the 16th edition of the World Athletics Championship draws near, pressure is on the athletes to deliver in London having fallen short in performance most recently at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.
Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor making her fourth trip to the World Championship is the last medal winner which was at the 2013 World Championship winning a silver medal in long jump and bronze medal in 200m.
Two years later in Beijing, 16 athletes who competed for Nigeria returned home with no medal. But that was remedied at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
With the inauguration of a new board into the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, the country’s state of decadence in athletics is a known challenge they have to tackle looking ahead to the Common Wealth Games in 2018, African Championship as well as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
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Vice President Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Olamide George wants Nigerians to expect less from the present crop of athletes in London for the World Championship and urged Nigerians not to rate the new board based on what goes down in London.
“The World Championship is not a yardstick or measurements for my board to perform in the next four years. Some of the athletes have qualified under this particular board and athletics is not something you just go into and expect result, it’s a long term project,” said George.
“In the last two Olympics, we are yet to climb the podium and I know the expectations of Nigerians are so high over the present board. We are putting up a rolling plan that will showcase or make us climb the podium in the next Olympics. Our goal is “SDP ” We sustain, develop and produce,” he said.
There will be 18 competitors representing Nigeria in 11 events at the 16th IAAF World Championship in London. The events are 400m (M &W), 800m (W), triple jump (M) , shot put (M), 100m (W), 100m hurdles (W), 400m hurdles (W), 4x100m relay (W), 4x400m (W) and long jump (W).