The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has described as a total fabrication the report in a national daily newspaper that the purported dropping of some coaches from Team Nigeria’s trip to the USA to secure qualifications for the relay events of the Tokyo Olympics is unsettling some athletes. The AFN described the story as a figment of imagination of the writer.
“The report is untrue and a calculated attempt to distract the team from achieving the goal of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics relay events and achieving podium appearances at the Games proper,” AFN Secretary General Prince Adisa Beyioku said in a statement at the weekend.
“The AFN hereby advise the writer and indeed journalists to always cross-check with the federation before going to the press on issues that require clarifications.
“It is the prerogative of the federation to pick the team (coaches and athletes) to any competition based on pre-championship or Games rules set by the federation. The USA trip does not qualify as a championship or Games where elite athletes require the presence of their personal coaches. The objective for going to the USA is to secure qualifications for the relay teams and it requires coaches who have had the experience of taking our team for relay training and qualification.”
Beyioku added: “The AFN has picked coaches who have had the experience of taking Nigeria relay teams to international competitions like the Olympics and the World Championship. We also have in the team a young coach, Deji Aliu who was in Team Nigeria men’s 4x100m relay quartet that won a bronze medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004.”
Meanwhile, the team arrived in the USA on Friday and have started preparation for their first meet.