16 June 2017

Nigeria: It's Time to Re-Build Nigeria's Athletics - Hameed Adio

With election into the board of the various sports federations concluded, former sprinter and captain of Nigeria's contingent to Moscow '80 Olympics, Hameed Adio, has said the board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), would focus on grassroots programmes to re-position the sport.

Adio, a former broadcaster with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and ex-Commissioner for Sports in Kwara State, returned to the AFN board on Tuesday at the federation's polls in Abuja. He was vice chairman to Dan Ngerem during his resign as AFN boss.

In his days as an athlete, Hameed Adio was an all-rounder, competing in the 100m, 200m, 400m and the relays. He was the fastest man while competing in the Nigeria University Games (NUGA), and as a national athlete, captained the country's contingent to Moscow '80 Olympic Games in the then USSR, where Nigeria returned to the Games after boycotting the 1976 edition held in Montreal, Canada.

Adio, with other Nigeria athletes, including Peter Okodogbe, Samson Oyeledun, Sunday Uti, Hope Ezeigbo, Felix Imadiyi and Dele Udo were the nation's flag bearers in the 100 and 200m event, though none could make it to the final.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Adio said the major focus of the new AFN board led by Ibrahim Gusua is to re-package the sports so as to attract sponsors.

"The president has made it clear that he will operate an open door policy," Adio said. "We will carry along anyone who can bring value into the federation because athletics belongs to all Nigerians.

"We will embark on revenue generation drive to woo sponsors, and we have to be accountable in everything because no sponsor will put his money where there is no accountability," He stated.

Meanwhile, the new AFN president, Gusua, has said that in the next 18 months, six athletics development centres would be opened in the country saying: "No more will our sport remain on the pedestrian path. We shall return to the pole position in Africa and in the world.

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