P.M. News (Lagos)

19 March 2002

Nigeria: AFN Immortalises Dele Udoh

Lagos — Dele Udoh, one of Nigeria's best quarter-milers of all time slain 21 years ago by a trigger-happy policeman, is yet to be immortalized.

Dan Ngerem, President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria disclosed yesterday while unfolding his federation's plans for the Commonwealth Games slated for Manchester, England from 25 July - 4 August this year.

Ngerem said the federation has concluded plans to institute a prize for the late quarter-miler to be known as the "Dele Udoh Memorial Prize".

The prize, according to the AFN boss, would be awarded to the best 400 metres athletes in the male and female categories.

The federation President said the sum of N200,000 has been earmarked for the purpose and will be put in the bank to generate interest in perpetuity. He called on well-meaning individuals and organisations to rally round the federation in honouring this illustrious son of Nigeria.

Nigeria, said the federation, is being hampered in its task of immortalizing the late Udoh due to lack of adequate information on the athlete. He solicited the assistance of Nigerians with information on him (Udoh) to come forward and make it available to his federation.

Ngerem also disclosed that the AFN is desirous of giving veteran athletes who had served the country well in the past a pride of place in the federation.

He said this is necessary in order to encourage upcoming athletes.

"We have to show gratitude to our veterans, who spent their active years in the service of the country. If we treat them with indifference, then there is no way we can encourage the younger athletes to work harder", Ngerem stressed.

Dele Udoh, a Nigerian 400 metres sprinter based in the United States was killed by a shot fired by a policeman while he was on holiday in Nigeria with his family in 1981.

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