This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: London 2012 - National Team Athletes Storm USA

As many as 10 Nigerian track stars will jet out of the country today to continue with their preparations for summer's Olympic Games in London even as the Athletic Federation of Nigeria unveils plans to ensure a favourable showing at the quadrennial games in July/August.

Top on the list of athletes who will be flying out tonight is three time national 100m champion, Obinna Metu who will lead two other Nigeria-based sprinters, reigning Nigeria champion, Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Benjamin Adukwu while Peter Emelieze, who will be competing in Istanbul, Turkey this weekend at the IAAF World Indoor Championships will join next week to complete the men's 4x100m relay leg.

Another former Nigeria champion, Godday James, who is on record as the last man to break 45 seconds in the 400m on Nigerian soil will lead the 4x400m team comprising of Tobi Ogunmola and another former Nigeria champion, Saul Weigopwa while the duo of Noah Akwu and Biola Onakoya, both students in American Universities will join the team in Atlanta where they will have a training camp supervised by new national coach and current national 400m record holder at 44.17 seconds, Innocent Egbunike.

For the women, IAAF World Junior Championships 4x400m silver medallists, Margaret Etim and Bukola Abogunloko will also be on the flight to Atlanta later Wednesday with Omolara Omotosho. The trio will be joined by Ajoke Odumosu who is competing at the IAAF World Indoor Championships this weekend. Also Atlanta-bound is sprinter, Agnes Osazuwa.

Meanwhile Athletic Federation of Nigeria President, Solomon Ogba has disclosed that the Nigeria's relay teams will be busy while in Atlanta undergoing training with Egbunike.

"We have concluded plans to make them compete in a number of relay meetings in the USA. They are expected to compete in the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, California, the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas as well as the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania all in April. We believe these meets will help get them ready for the Olympics," said Ogba.

Ogba believes the appointment of Egbunike remains the best decision the National Sports Commission (NSC) and the AFN have taken in recent months.

"His track record both as an athlete and coach is impeccable and I am happy we are having a man of his pedigree to tinker the Nigerian team. It is the start of a new dawn for track and field in Nigeria," he said.

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