The 2013 edition of the Pastor D.K Olukoya junior championships scheduled for March 7-9, has been restricted to Under-17 by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria in view of the maiden African Youth Championships billed for Warri, Delta March 23-28.
Previously the D.K Olukoya Championships, which is in its third year were only for Under-18 athletes. But the AFN scaled down the age-limit as the the AYC is opened to only Under-17 athletes.
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"We are using the D.K Olukoya as our trials. And it is only wise that we restrict it to Under-17 athletes since the African Youth Championships is for Under-17,"said AFN president, Solomon Ogba in Port Harcourt during the National Schools Sports Festival.
Sixteen athletes were picked at the Schools sports festival and they will join those that will be selected from the D.K Olukoya meet at the Yaba Colleague of Technology, Lagos. The athletes that make the final list will be camped for two weeks in readiness for the AYC.
Meanwhile former Edo State commissioner for sports, Brown Ebewele has tasked the AFN to present only athletes who are truly under-17 for the AYC. He said that it was time Nigeria pay more attention to grassroots development rather than recycle athletes.
"We want to see only under-17 athletes at the AYC in Warri. We want see a crop of young athletes we can train in the next five years. "It is about time we stop this win at all cost attitude and look for young athletes to present at championships. It does matter whether they win, we want to see fresh talents," said Ebewele in Port Harcourt.