Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President, Tonobock Okowa is confident the future is very bright for track and field in Nigeria following the unprecedented feats achieved by the country’s young athletes at the World Athletics U20 Championships, which ended Sunday in Nairobi, Kenya.
Nigeria won four gold and three bronze medals to finish third on the medals table and Okowa has congratulated the team.
“The athletes and their coaches have done us very proud. They have achieved our best ever performance in the history of the championships,” Okowa said. The AFN President believes the unprecedented feats signify that track and field in Nigeria is on the rise again after some 13 years of more misses than hits.
“This is a new beginning for athletics in Nigeria. We are confident these new set of athletes will be there in Paris, France in three years time to help us also achieve our best performance at the Olympics,” he added.
Okowa insists Nigeria’s inability to win a single medal at both the London (2012) and Rio De Janeiro (2016) Olympics was because youths were neglected over time.
Okowa believes with the encouraging support the AFN has been getting from the Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, the federation is confident of not only nurturing the athletes that have shown the potential to be world class stars at the Nairobi 2021 event but also discover more.
“The board will meet soon and our programmes for the next four years will be released. Like I said when I was sworn in as the president of the AFN in June, welfare of the athletes and coaches will be top on my list of priorities and I am happy I have started implementing it.”