Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: AFN Appeals to Athletes to Attend Championships

The Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has appealed to athletes whose performances fall within the International Amateur Athletics (IAAF) standard to attend the 66th All Nigeria/CRS Athletics Championship.

Yusuf Alli, a board member of AFN, said yesterday in Lagos that the championships would mainly serve as trials for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

He added that athletes who had met the IAAF and Olympic standard would stand better chance of being picked in the championships.

The 66th All Nigeria/CRS Athletics Championships is scheduled to hold from June 19 to June 21 in Calabar, Cross River State.

Alli, a 1990 Commonwealth long jump champion, said that the invitation was open to all Nigerian athletes who were interested in representing the country at the Olympic Games.

"Our objective is to select the best athletes, and the criteria we have decided to adopt is to look out for the IAAF standard. All Nigerian born athletes are free to come, even those discovered at the U-18 AFN/Dr Olukoya meet.

"Though some of them have not met the standard but they are free to participate because they would be able to mingle with older colleagues who will fly in from different parts of the world for the meets.

"After the trials we would have a clearer picture of the team that we would be taken to the Olympics and by then we would be able to rate our chances with other countries," he said.

Alli listed Blessing Okagbare as one of the 30 athletes who had met the IAAF and Olympic standard.

The Olympian said that the accepted record for long jump was 8.20m for A standard while 8.10m is for B standard.

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