Nigeria will not appear at the 2018 IAAF World U-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, after the Athletics Federation of Nigeria could not secure visas for the three athletes scheduled to represent the country at the event.
The World Juniors begin today with over 1,462 athletes from 158 countries expected to compete in 44 events.
Last week, the AFN named Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Joy Udo-Gabriel, Enoch Adegoke and long jumper Benjamin Arinze as the country’s representatives at the biennial event.
But checks by our correspondent on Monday revealed that the athletes were still in the country.
Our correspondent learnt that the federation could not secure visas to Finland for the competition.
An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “The athletes need Schengen visas to travel to Finland but as of Friday, the AFN has yet to secure the visas. It means the athletes will not travel for the competition.”
The athletes were scheduled to travel to Finland on Friday but Udo-Gabriel was seen competing in the women’s 100m heats at the National Championships in Abuja on Saturday. Adegoke also competed in the men’s 100m heats at the competition.
However, athletes demanding for the removal of AFN Technical Director Sunday Adeleye, who is also their representative on the board, disrupted the event.
When our correspondent contacted the Secretary General of the federation Amaechi Akawo for comments, he failed to comment on the issue. He promised to get back to our correspondent but failed to do so as of press time.
Ahead of the competition, Adegoke is ranked the fifth fastest junior athlete following the 10.19secs he ran at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April.
Udo-Gabriel is also ranked seventh in the top 10 of the fastest junior women after she ran 11.42secs at the Commonwealth Games in April.
Nigeria has produced three champions in the men’s 100m at the World Juniors – Davidson Ezinwa (1990), Deji Aliu (1994) and Francis Obikwelu (1996) – and one women’s junior world champion – Tina Iheagwam (1986).
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