After Rio Olympics, top sprinter competition takes centre stage in Lagos

Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor

Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor

Hundreds of athletes from all over the country are set to compete in the 2016 Top Sprinter competition set to hold at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos from September 29 to October 1. Cash prizes and gifts worth more than N1 million are at stake.

Registration commenced a week ago and more than 300 athletes have already registered for Top Sprinter 2016, including National athletes who represented Nigeria at this year’s IAAF World Junior Championships and Olympic Games in Rio.

Cash prizes will be awarded in the senior category where athletes will compete in just three events – the men and women’s 100m, 200m and 400m, and each Top Sprinter 2016 Champion will be awarded ₦50,000, while 2nd and 3rd place finishers will earn ₦30,000 and ₦20,000 respectively.

The Junior and Youth athletes will each participate in over 10 events cutting across the Sprints, Hurdles, Jumps and Throws in both Boys’ and Girls’ categories, subject to enough athletes registering for each event. Gifts worth well over ₦200,000 will be awarded in the Junior and Youth categories, including Spike shoes and exclusive Top Sprinter Speedsuits and T-shirts.

The Top Sprinter competition is a Making of Champions (MoC) initiative targeted at discovering and grooming the next generation of Track and Field athletes that can eventually represent and win medals for Nigeria in future.

The first edition of the competition was held last year with athletes participating in different legs of the event in Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu and Benin. MoC teamed up with four Olympic Medallists – Deji Aliu, Francis Obikwelu, Glory Alozie and Uchenna Emedolu in the search for Nigeria’s future Olympians.

Giving an insight as to why prize monies are involved this year, MoC Founder and CEO, Bambo Akani said: “It’s been a tough year for Nigerian athletes so we decided to reward some of the country’s best athletes for their efforts. Those who were at the Olympics would be able to compete against others who need a big competition to round up their 2016 Season.

“We’re not sponsoring Athletes down to Lagos for Top Sprinter this year, as we believe that it’s better to reward the best 50 or so Senior Athletes with fantastic cash prizes to add more shine to the event, just like it’s done in the International Diamond League. Something like this hasn’t happened in Nigeria for a long time – we’re expecting a huge post-Olympics celebration!”

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