President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Tonobok Okowa as well as the Chairman of the Lagos State Athletics Association (LAA), Solomon Alao are both optimistic ahead of Thursday’s Lagos Open Athletics Championship.
Among other things, the one-day athletics meet billed for the Teslim Balogun Stadium affords Team Nigeria another chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics Relay events having failed in its last bid at the National trials held at Yaba College of Technology’s Sporting Complex.
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Okowa and Alao told journalists in Lagos the athletes are all in high spirits and a conducive environment to aid the qualification to Tokyo has been put in place at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship
“We are trying to support our athletes and give them an enabling environment to qualify for the Olympics. If they fail to achieve that now, that means we might have to wait for another four years, Nigeria deserves to be in the Relay events at the Olympics and that’s what we are trying to achieve.” The Lagos State Athletics Association boss stated.
On his part, the AFN President assured that the athletes are well motivated to deliver on the required qualifying times for the Olympics at the Lagos meet even as he enjoined for the support of all.
“We already have a good pep talk with the athletes and we are doing our best to make them ready. I am sure that the athletes are in good spirits, ready and I pray we get the qualification. We want everyone to come around to cheer the team to victory
“We need to encourage our athletes and not talk them down. We need everyone to work together as a team so as to achieve victory.” Okowa appealed.
Yussuf Ali, the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship assured of a seamless organisation.
Alli said: “We felt they failed to get the time at the National trials after they exhausted themselves in their individual events. We are optimistic they are well-rested now and good to go for another shot at qualifying for the Olympics”.
Apart from the Relay events, the list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship includes the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters, and 100 meters among others.