22 August 2011

Nigeria: IAAF Rejects AFN List for Daegu Worlds - 202 National Teams, 1945 Athletes Registered

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has rejected two athletes registered by the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) for the 13th IAAF World Athletics Championships starting on Saturday in Daegu, South Korea.

The rejected athletes are the USA-born duo of sprinter, Asumnu Ogechi Gloria and quartermiler,Mayungbe Ibukun Blessing.

The IAAF, while rejecting the athletes, said they were not eligible to compete for Nigeria because of dual citizenship rule. Both athletes will not be eligible to compete for Nigeria until June 23,2013.

However cleared to compete for Nigeria from August 4,2011 is Okoro Chinwe who did not make the team to Daegu.

The AFN had listed the duo in a 17-man squad for the biennial championships apparently without the federation's technical committee conducting a check on the eligibility of these athletes, who hold dual citizenship.

"The fact that both athletes are still listed as representing the USA on IAAF website should have alarmed the AFN officials who should have done a proper check before sending Nigeria's final list to the IAAF and save the country this international embarrassement," said many athletics observers after it was revealed the IAAF has rejected the duo.

Both athletes are also ineligible to compete for Nigeria at next month's 10th All Africa Games in Maputo, while it remains to be seen what the AFN will do to the result achieved by the athlete at the last national championships,the Nigeria/Cross River State Track and Field Championships last June in Calabar.

Many athletics followers have called on the president of the AFN, Chief Solomon Ogba, to do a complete overhaul of all the sub-committees of the federation, while some even suggested the entire board of the federation should resign over this international disgrace.

Meanwhile, the duo of Mrs Maria Worphil,secretary general of the AFN and erstwhile president of the federation,Mrs Violet Odogwu-Nwajei have been confirmed as the only two Nigerians vying for seats on the IAAF Women's Commitee and Cross Country Committee respectively.

Worphil,a former national handball star has been one of the longest serving secretary generals the AFN has ever had and very popular among international athletics administrators while Odogwu-Nwajei,the first Nigerian nay African woman to win a field event medal at the Commonwealth Games is one of the vice-presidents of the African Athletics Confedrations(AAC).

Meanwhile, 202 national teams and 1945 athletes have been registered for the championships. IAAF confirmed this in a statement on Monday, saying that the provisional entry list for the championships which was published on Sunday.

According to the IAAF,94% of tickets of the tickets have been sold and hopes that this would be translated to spectators at the stadium which will be a record for the IAAF World Championships.

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