The 2019 domestic athletics season has commenced in earnest today with the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) All-Comers National Championships currently being staged at the Gateway International Stadium, Ijebu Ode.
As athletes battle for honours at the season-opening championship, Technical Director of the Federation, Sunday Adeleye has told busybuddiesng.com that the event which comes to an end tomorrow, Saturday, April 6th will mostly serve to gauge the level of preparedness of all categories of athletes after the off season as well as further prepare athletes representing Nigeria on the continent.
“The All-Comers event is to put our athletes into a little bit of test because they’ve been training and training after the off season,” Adeleye told busybuddiesng.com.
“This is the first major competition of the year for every athlete that is why it’s called all comers so there is both the senior, the junior, the intermediate, everybody comes out to put out their own effort to see where they belong or to see what they’ve achieved in regards to the level of training they’ve actually had.”
Adeleye also said that the championships will serve to further prepare athletes selected at the National U18 and U20 Trials held recently in Ilaro, Ogun State to represent Nigeria at the forthcoming Confederation of Africa Athletics (CAA) U18 and U20 Championships to be held in Ivory Coast between April 16th and 20th.
“Basically we want the team going to Abidjan for the U18 and U20 African Championship they’ll be using this again to do a final test to see their level of fitness for the event and the more you compete the better you become, so it is going to be a plus for our team because we will be doing a competition even before going to Ivory Coast.
“So other countries that probably just did their trials and that are just waiting for that competition now we are going to be ahead of them because we have moved from one point to another by doing a competition and trying to put the fears and tensions and adrenaline aggressiveness up.”
The season opening meet is traditionally staged at the National Stadium in Abuja but this year’s event had to be moved to Ijebu Ode and Adeleye said “a church programme” at the National Stadium was responsible for the shift in venue.
“We actually wanted to use Abuja for the competition but for some reasons, the stadium will be in use for a church programme and that is why we had to move to another venue,” he explained.