Thirty track and field events including the first Mixed 4x400m Olympic Qualification attempt have been confirmed for the 3rd edition of the Making of Champions (MoC) Grand Prix, which will see Nigerian and African athletes vie for honours between 2-3 April 2021 at the Yabatech Sports Complex in Lagos.
Track and Field events across the sprints, jumps, throws, hurdles and relays will be featured at the 3rd MoC Grand Prix, which is set to be the biggest and most important edition of the event to date.
Outside of the National Trials, the MoC Grand Prix is already the largest athletics competition in Nigeria, with 400 participating in the inaugural edition in 2018, and over 500 Athletes from across Nigeria taking part in 2019.
The 3rd edition presents Nigerian athletes, longsuffering from the coronavirus pandemic, a much-longed for opportunity to reacquaint themselves with competition and a spring board to secure a place at the Tokyo Olympics.
According to organisers, athletes’ times will be ratified by MoC’s technical partners the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) who would ensure that races are timed electronically and all results recognized globally by World Athletics.
At a Media Parley organized by Making of Champions on Thursday to announce the return of the event, MoC Founder & CEO Bambo Akani said, “It’s good to be back. We’re very glad that the MoC Grand Prix can make a return for the third edition. Obviously, this was meant to happen in 2020 but because of the coronavirus pandemic, it wasn’t able to happen in May, then December, so we are really pleased that it can now return for Nigerian athletes and athletes everywhere in April 2021.
“The MoC Grand Prix holds an added importance this year because it will serve as an Olympic-qualifying event and we’re looking very much forward to helping as many Nigerian athletes as possible qualify for the Olympics. We’re calling on corporate sponsors across Nigeria to join in this effort to support Nigeria’s Olympic hopes, especially in the midst of the coronavirus crisis,” he added.
The event will strictly observe the Sports Ministry’s Covid-19 Sports Code & Protocol and a final list of invited athletes will be released after an initial 1-month registration period for interested athletes has closed.
One of the highlights of the 3rd MoC Grand Prix will be the staging of the first Mixed 4x400m Olympic Qualification attempt considering that the Mixed 4x400m (with 2 men and 2 women per team) will be featured at the Olympics for the very first time in Tokyo. As such, athletes from other African countries will also be invited to compete at the event, particularly relay teams vying for qualification for the Tokyo Olympics in 6 months’ time.
With World Athletics Rankings being used for the first time to determine Olympic qualification, MoC Partnerships Manager Evans Emmanuel disclosed at the Media Parley that the 3rd MoC Grand Prix is part of an intended series of five Olympic qualifying competitions across Nigeria from March to June tagged the ‘MoC Athletics Challenge’, and that discussion with potential sponsors were already ongoing:
“Apart from few athletes globally who have already hit Olympic qualifying standards in their events, most Athletes worldwide will have to qualify through their World Rankings, which is an average of their five best performances in the last 12 months. For that reason, apart from the 3rd MoC Grand Prix, with the support of more sponsors we will be looking to put up another four events leading to the Olympics.
“We have already had several positive discussions with prospective sponsors for the 3rd MoC Grand Prix – there has been a lot of interest in supporting Olympic-qualifying Events that will help Nigeria’s Athletes triumph over the global pandemic and propel the nation to our best Olympic showing since Atlanta ’96 – we are looking forward to unveiling these sponsors as they join our events in the coming weeks!”