Samuel Onikeku, AFN Technical Director Says ‘Adopt-an-Athlete’ Programme To Federation Rescu
The Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria AFN, Samuel Onikeku believes the ‘Adopt-an-Athlete’ programme introduced by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare would rescue the lack of support some athletes have been encountering.
Onikeku said lack of support to encourage the graduating athletes from the junior cadre has been a huge problem confronting the Federation.
He expressed that States, Corporate organisations and individuals have joined by adopting some of the athletes; a development he said, have taken some financial burden off the federation. “With this development, some of the adopted athletes are in various countries and club being sponsored by the adopters. And this is a huge relief to the federation”.
While responding to question at the Award nite hosted by the Minister Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare where the athletes to the recent IAAF World U20 Athletics Championship in Kenya were hosted, Onikeku said some of the talents discovered at the National Sports Festival in Benin, Edo state and the expected ones in the ongoing National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara state would be groomed for future events.
He pointed out that there are lots of championships across the globe to expose the talents.
According to Onikeku, “the federation is not resting on its oars, we have so many championships ahead of us, the Commonwealth Games next year in Birmingham, World Athletics Championship in USA, Paris 2024 Olympic Games and many other events. However, we don’t want to take our eyes off the ball; especially with athletes who made us proud in Kenya”.
“We want to gradually integrate them into the senior national team so we can avoid burning them out, and we will not make the mistake of pitching them with the elites or expose them to the championship that is meant for the seniors. Their integration is going to be a gradual process”.
The AFN Technical Director at
‘My Nigerian Dream 2.0 Award nite’ hosted by Dare, and the country’s contingent to the World U20 Athletics Championship in Kenya were hosted and awarded, disclosed that the federation has plans ahead of next World Athletics Championship in Cali, Columbia.
“We have set machinery in motion for the next World U20 Championship in Cali, Columbia by working on some athletes discovered at the last National Sports Festival, Youth Games and also keeping an eye on this year’s National Youth Games to discover new new athletes that can be added to our reservoir”.