Friday, January 25, 2013

Sanchi Committee: AFN actually smuggled Obiekwe to London

Esther Obiekwe, the marathoner

*Who asked and collected bribe from her?

Morton and Okagbare head AFN’s list to London

Amaechi Morton and Blessing Okagbare will lead Nigerian athletes to the London Olympics
Article | July 3, 2012 - 11:28am | By Jide Alaka
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), on Monday at the National Stadium, announced the list of 31 athletes that will represent Nigeria at this year’s summer Olympics in July.
The list was compiled after the just concluded Africa Athletics Championships that was held in Benin Republic until last Sunday in Porto Novo.
Solomon Ogba, president of AFN commended the athletes for their efforts. Speaking at the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) boardroom, he also disclosed that the team’s performance gave him satisfaction, and expressed hope that they were ready to do the nation proud come July in London.
Ogba then revealed the 23 names and the list is headed by Beijing bronze medallist, Blessing Okagbare. The list also includes Gloria Asunmu, Lawreta Ozoh (100m women); 200m (women) Gloria Asumnu, Lawreta Ozoh and Christy Udoh; 400m (women) Regina George and Omolara Omotosho; (400m Hurdle women) Ajoke Odumosun; High Jump (Women) Doreen Amata; Long Jump Blessing Okagbare; Shot put Vivian Chukwu Emeka; heptathlon Uhunoma Naomi Osaazuwa; Marathon Esther Obiekwe; 100m Hurdle women Seun Adigun; (4x100m women) Blessing Okagbare, Gloria Asumnu, Lawretta Ozoh, Oluwadamola Osayomi, Wisdom Isoken and Christy Udoh; while the 4x400m women has Regina George, Omolara Omotosho, Bukola Abogunloko, Endurance Abinuwa , Idara Otu and Margaret Etim.
The team for the men comprises: 100m, Obinna Joseph Metuh, Ogho Oghene Egwero, Peter Emelieze; 110m Hurdle, Selim Nurudeen; 400m hurdle Ameadi Morton; Long Jump Stanley Gbageke, Triple Jump Oluwatosin Oke; 4x400m, Saul Weogopwa, Abiola Onokoya, Isah Salihu, Tobi Ogunmola, Segun Ogunkole and Godday James.

Daily independent

Monday, January 21st 2013
Posted on Saturday, July 7th, 2012
By Uzor Odigbo Snr correspondent, Lagos
Indications on day one of the Championships had produced goose pimples on the fragile faces of Nigerian officials.
Nigeria had lost the gold medal in the women’s 100m event. This was a medal nobody had thought would be lost, coupled with that a Nigeria female 100m hurdler Seun Adigun which earlier medal projections had favoured for a gold medal, hit the hurdle sticks 60m to the finishing line. Lauretta Ozo 100m female sprinter was sent out for beating the gun.
Nigeria was not getting anywhere close to what officials had projected and anxiety mounted, officials wear frowning face and athletes were under intense pressure to deliver.
Officiating was not too good for Nigeria’s athletes who despite earlier good performances were thrown to the outer lanes which worsen the situation, worst hit were the 4x400m relay men and women event and some individual events. In the 100m men event, the same thing happened, Ogho Egwero and Obinna Metu were seeded in lane 2 and 7 respectively in the final despite running a blistering semi-final race in the same event.
Accommodation hiccups was another weapon the host use to obstruct Nigeria’s progress in the championship earlier on arrival.
While other countries were housed at Porto Novo, venue of the competition, the Nigerian contingent was accommodated in Cotonu about 30 kilometes away from the venue coupled with its attendant stress.
Undeterred, Nigeria’s officials kept to every detail and were working according to instructions from the leader of delegation, the AFN president Solomon Ogba.
Again, all countries that attended the championship were issued with services busses except Nigeria, till this moment, no explanation were offered by the host country as to reasons behind the denial.
As events kept coming, Nigeria pick up the gunlet and thing began to look up.
Team Nigeria returned to winning ways in continental track and field Sunday emerging the overall champions of the 18th edition of the African Senior Athletics Championships in Port Novo, Republic of Benin.
Unlike two years ago in Nairobi when the host country edged Nigeria to win, the relay quartet of Isah Saliu, Abiola Onakoya, Amaechi Morton and Saul Weigopwa ran the race of their lives in the final 4x400m men event to claim the gold that made the difference between Team Nigeria and the East Africans.
Nigerian captain, Saul Weigopwa out ran Botswana’s last leg on the curve of the home stretch to hit the finish line in 3.02: 39 secs to add the vital gold to the one the quartet of Endurance Abinuwa, Omolara Omotosho, Margaret Etim and Bukola Abogunloko (3.28:77secs) had early won to tie the country on same nine gold medals as Kenya.
Botswana got disqualified for South Africa (3.04.12secs) to profit while the bronze went to Kenya (3.04.21).
This is the first time in 12 years that Team Nigeria will be winning African Championships, after the likes of Falilat Ogunkoya, Mary Onyali etc topped the edition Senegal hosted in Dakar in 1998.
Before the race got to the wire, Gloria Asumnu had added the 200m gold to the haul of the previous day while Lawretta Ozoh who ran a photo finish with Asumnu settled for silver based on the reaction time of both athletes.
It was the New Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games champion, Ajoke Muziat Odumosu that opened the flood gates of gold for Nigeria in the final day of the African Championships.
It was an evening Nigerian officials, looked forward to a rush of medals and the athletes were favoured to win gold after their semi-final performances did not disappoint.
In the first event of the day, Ajoke proved too strong for the 400m hurdles contestants as she established an early lead from the 200m mark, she held on and coasted home without much challenge to finish 54. 99 seconds, Hayat Lambarki of Morocco finished second with 55.41, while Liberia’s Rasin McIntosh placed third with 55.99. Ajoke who won at the Nairobi 2010 championships stated after that the race that she was pleased with her performance and was hopeful of making an impact at the London 2012 Olympics.
Equally excited was Gloria Asumnu, who had to fight off stiff competition from compatriot Loretta Ozoh to clinch the women 200m gold. Asumnu powered off at the final bend, but her finishing was almost letting down as Ozoh chased her down, they both breasted the tape at 22.93, but Asumnu took the race having dipped just as Ozoh was catching up.
Noah Akwu took the bronze in the men’s 200m won by Ivory Coast’s Ben Youseff Meite with a time of 20.62 seconds. Amr Saoud of Egypt was second with 20.76, while Akwu finished 20.83.
The Nigerian women 4x400m quartet put up a brave performance and set a new championships record. It was a crowing display by the team featuring Abinuwa Enduracne, Omolara Omotosho, Margaret Etim and Bukky Abogunloko. They totally overwhelmed other competitors, and despite the hot chase by 400m world champion, Amantle Montsho, there was no stopping the Nigerian girls, they finish 3 .28. 07 seconds, to improve on their ranking on the top 16 list of qualifiers for the Olympics. Botswana was second with 3.31.27, while Senegal was third with 3.31.84.
The Nigerian men also put a commanding performance and have booked a place for the London 2012 Olympics. They Finished 3.02. 41 to the gold beating Botswana to second position.
Overall, Nigeria emerged champions, reclaiming their first position in track and field that they had lost some years ago following the decline in the sport. Now, they are winning and AFN President said “we can only give glory to God.”
It was a moment to savour for the Nigerian contingent to the Africa Athletics Championships on Sunday in Porto Novo, as it won five gold medals to overthrow the South Africans as Africa’s best in athletics.
Gold medals in the women’s 400m hurdles, 200m, shot-put and men and women’s 4x400m took the county’s gold tally to 10 and 21 medals in total.
In the Olympic team just released by AFN are Blessing Okagbare, Gloria Asunmu and Lawretta Ozoh (women 100m), Gloria Asumnu, Loretta Ozoh and Christy Udoh (200m), Regina George and Omolara Omotosho (400m), Ajoke Odumosu (400m hurdles), Doreen Amata (high jump), Blessing Okagbare (long jump) and Vivian Chukwuemeka (shot put).
Others are Uhunoma Naomi Osazuwa (hepthatlon), Esther Obiekwe (marathon), Seun Adigun (100m hurdles), Blessing Okagbare, Gloria Asunmu, Loretta Ozoh, Oluwadamola Osayomi, Wisdom Isoken and Christy Udoh (4x100m), Regina George, Omolara Omotosho, Bukola Abogunloko, Endurance Abinuwa, Idara Otu and Margaret Etim (4x400m).
Men: Obinna Joseph Metu, Ogho Oghene Egwero and Peter Emelieze (100m), Selim Nurudeen (110m hurdles), Umeadi Morton (400m hurdles), Stanley Gbageke (long jump), Oluwatosin Oke (triple jump), Saul Weigopwa, Abiola Onakoya, Isah Salihu, Tobi Ogunmola, Segun Ogunkole and Godday James (4x400m).
Meanwhile, Seven Nigerian athletes reached the Olympic qualifying standards set by the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF), in 2011 to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics.
They represent the first individuals from athletics to book their seats for Team Nigeria for London 2012. They include some of the best sprinters in the country.
Apart from the seven, in the ‘A’ qualifying standard, a host of others have made the lesser ‘B’ standard. Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Peter Emelieze have proven to be the country’s top sprinters in the men’s 100m. Amaechi Morton goes in the 400m hurdles while Tosin Oke aims to make his mark in the Triple Jump.
Blessing Okagbare made the grade in the 100m and 200m sprint double as well as the long jump where she won a bronze medal in 2008. It’s a combination of events made famous by Jesse Owens in 1936 and Carl Lewis in 1984, but an overlap in the scheduling means she is cut between a choice in the longer sprint and the long jump.
Paul Doyle, her US agent, said: “At the moment she’ll definitely do the 100m and long jump.
Last year wasn’t the best for her but I think she has the potential to be the best long jumper in the world. We’ll wait and see about the 200m.”
Another hopeful is Oludamola Osayomi, who can also double up in the sprints. She could be a threat to the best if she can recapture the form she showed in the All-African Games in Maputo.
At a new personal best of 10.99s she ran in the 100m in Sao Paulo which puts her firmly in the top ten sprinters list.
Doreen Amata in the high jump is the final athlete so far making the ‘A’ standard. A country is allowed a maximum of three athletes that reach the ‘A’ standard in an event who meet or exceed this mark in the 18-month period prior to the Olympics.
The ‘B’ standard is slightly easier to reach, but only one additional athlete per nation may be entered who has met the ‘B’ standard without pushing on to the ‘A’ standard. The qualification period ends July 8, 2012

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