6th National Youth Games: Arewa athletics coaches  decry exclusion of  long distance runners   from the games





By Abdulgafar Oladimeji

Athletics coaches under the aegis of  Concerned Northern Coaches   have lamented the exclusion of long distances races from the annual National Youth Games, stressing that the decision by the organizers  is affecting the development of these races in their region.

The coaches lamented that  long distance races were the major core strength areas of  northern  Nigeria in track and field events .

The coaches, who spoke under the condition of anonymity  unanimously submitted that the exclusion of  long distance races is  a  denial of the  chances to groom cadet distance runners from the region.

“It is very well known that , we in the North, in the game of athletics, we are very strong in long races like 800m, 1500m, 5,000m.

“this long races are  the areas of our strength in Northern Nigeria,  we don’t bring our athletes to youth games, how do we expose them, other parts of Nigeria have their strength in short races like 100m,  200m, that is why we are been dominated in athletics .

“we are appealing for an amends to be made in athletics to accommodate all the races and  states and regions can come with our cadets to compete in our area of strength to help us groom them to become national athletes.”

When contacted, the president Athletic Federation of Nigeria. AFN Tonobok Okowa appealed to the complainants   to observe restraint on the issue.

He said “ before I came on board they have their progarmmes already, before the NYG 2021 edition, I called those concerned to see how we can adjust the calendar, from all indication, it  was not feasible.

“I want to appeal to  everybody to be patient, we are going to address this issue and also we have arranged for events that would roll off in couple of weeks , everybody will be accommodated at the grass root and elites level.” Okowa stated.



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