Okagbare, Others To Compete In Warri For World Championship Trials

Blessing Okagbare       PHOTO: IAAF.

Blessing Okagbare             PHOTO: IAAF.

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), may have finally settled for the city of Warri, Delta State, as venue for the National Trials to pick athletes for this year’s IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China, and the All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville, following alleged failure by Cross River State to honour its contractual agreement with the body.

The AFN had raised alarm during the week that the trials, tagged ‘AFN/Cross River All Nigeria Athletics Championship’ might not hold this year because Cross River State Government was yet to meet it’s financial commitment less than two weeks to the championship. All Nigerian top athletes, including reigning Commonwealth Games track queen, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, are expected to take part in the trials.

Cross River State signed a five-year deal with AFN to host the championship. The state hosted the last four editions, but the 2015 edition is doubtful.

However, AFN President, Dr. Solomon Ogba, told The Guardian on phone from Cali, Colombia, venue of the on-going World Youth Athletics Championship yesterday, that the Federation would resort to its plan ‘B of staging the event in Warri between July 30 and August 1, if Cross River fails to respond before the end of this week.

“This trials is very important to us because we need to select our athletes for the World Championship and the All African Games. If Cross River fails to host it, our plan B is to host it in Warri to avoid failure,” Ogba said.

Meanwhile, some local athletes, who were looking forward to challenge their foreign counterparts in the battle for tickets at the U.J Esuene Stadium, Calabar, have urged the AFN to institute legal action against Cross River State government for breach of agreement, if it fails to host the championship as scheduled.

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