AFN names 42 athletes for African U18 & U20 Championships

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The Athletics Federation of Nigerian (AFN), has named 42 athletes to compete for honours at the combined 4th African U18 Championships and the 15th African U20 championships scheduled to start this weekend in Ndola, Zambia.

The list is made up of 23 U18 girls and boys as well as 19 U20 men and women.

Nigeria U20 women’s record holder, Tima Godbless is spearheading Nigeria’s challenge for podium places in the U20 category while National Sports Festival 100m and 200m silver medallist, Faith Okwose tops the list of 23 U18 athletes listed for the Championships.

Some others listed in the U18 category are Ewa Peace, Eyakpoeyan Justina Tiana, Saibu Yetunde Olayinka, Israel Okon Sunday, Monday Ebuka, Francis, James Musa Jimoh, Justin Osigwe and Abujei Chinedu.

For the U20, Sule Rejoice Adijatu, Oke Opeyemi Deborah, Usenbor Osaretin Joy, Bright Ada Princess, Ajayi Kanyinsola, Adebisi Musbau, Musa Nurain Kola, Unorji Kingsley Emeka and Caleb Joshua also made the team.

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AFN Technical Director, Samuel Onikeku, said that the federation has selected the best athletes that will do Nigeria proud in Ndola and follow in the footsteps of their predecessors who launched their way to stardom at the Championships.

‘The AFN has selected the best crop of young athletes who will not only be medal contenders in Ndola but will grow to become one of the best in their events,’ said Onikeku, a former Nigeria international athlete.

Onikeku revealed that the last edition of the combined championships held four years ago in Abidjan, Ivory Coast produced stars who have grown to be Nigeria and African record holders today.

“Enoch Adegoke cut his teeth at these championships when he ran a 10.29 Championships record in the 100m in Cote d’Ivoire four years ago and two years after that he became the first Nigerian man to run in the final of the Olympics,’ said Onikeku who also revealed Favour Ofili sped to fame with double championships records in Cote d’Ivoire.

“Favour was exceptional in Cote d’Ivoire, setting two Championships records in the 200m (23.38) and 400m (52.28) events in the U18 category.

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“Today she is the African record holder in the 200m indoors and Nigeria’s 200m record holder outdoor.

“Rosemary Chukwuma successfully completed a sprint double in Ivory Coast in the U20 category and she is today the fastest over the two events so far this year.

“Javelin thrower set championships record of 74.71m to win the gold and he is today the Nigerian record holder in the event after breaking Pius Bazighe’s over two decades record,’ said Onikeku.

The AFN Technical Director is confident the athletes going to Ndola to compete are as good as those who went to Ivory four years ago and Nigerians should expect the birth of a new generation of superstars.

Meanwhile, Mrs Rosa Collins, a former Nigeria and African triple jump champion and record who is also the second Vice President of the AFN is the leader of delegation. 

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