The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) says it won’t depend solely on sprinter Blessing Okagbare for medals when hostilities begin at the 12th African Games in Rabat, Morocco later in the year.
The Games, which will hold from August 19 to 31, will be the first time the North African country (Morocco) is hosting it.
Technical Director of AFN, Sunday Adeleye told The Guardian yesterday that unlike in the past, when Team Nigeria medals’ hope were placed on the shoulders of Okagbare, the Games in Morocco would be different.
“We are working very hard to avoid past mistakes when our medals hope were on one particular athlete,” Adeleye said. “In Morocco, our athletics team will have various options. Now, we can boast young athletes who are capable of winning medals for us at major championships. These are Divine Oduduru to Oluwatobiloba Amusan, Ese Brume and Enoch Olaoluwa Adegoke. I am not saying we will push Okagbare aside, but we need to prepare other athletes for the challenges ahead so that she can have some respite.”
Enoch Adegoke, a male sprinter competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in both the 100m and the 4x100m relay.
To the AFN Technical Director, the duo of Adegoke and Oduduru has what it takes to lead Team Nigeria’s quest for medals in the sprint event for men. US-based Oduduru is one of Africa’s rave of the moments in the sprint, having recorded a fantastic year at Texas Tech this season.
He smashed Texas Tech college’s 20-year-old 200-meter indoor record with a time of 20.49s to win the 200m at the Texas Tech Track & Field Red Raider Invitational last season.
In the female fold, AFN is also banking on young sprinter, Rosemary Chukwuma, who was part of Team Nigeria’s 4×100 women’s team that won gold at Asaba 2018 Senior Africa Athletics Championship.
She had earlier won gold in the 100m and 200m at the 2018 Africa Youth Games in Algeria.