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2012 in Review: Nigeria’s Cross River Lead, Others Follow  print

Published on December 14, 2012 by   ·   No Comments

With 2012 being an Olympic year, one can say much of the action in the track and field events took place in Cross River.

The governor of the state, Liyel Imoke had in the beginning of the year hailed the Athletics Federation of Nigeria; AFN for the success recorded in the previous, but urged them to embark on developmental programmes in the year.

The state dominated headlines for the right reasons with her athletes being winners of the 2011 National Sports Festival, NSF held in Rivers State.

Still in the year under review, the state also emerged winners of the South South All Comers Athletics Championships which was held at the U.J Esuene Stadium in Calabar.

The meet was opened to all categories of athletes from the entire South South zone. Hosts Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Edo, Kogi, Police and NSDC presented athletes. Over 200 athletes competed in junior, senior and elite category and products of the Cross River grassroots athletics development programme dominated the meet.

Apart from dominating the South south All Comers Athletics Championships, the state was able to sustain her Cross River State Primary/Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships; this year’s being the third edition.

It had over 1000 kids from all the local governments in the State participating, the five-day event started in 2009 some of the athletes discovered in previous meets represented Cross River at the2011 National Sports Festival in Port Harcourt and the recently concluded 18th edition in Lagos State.

With Cross River state making headway and time tickling to the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Imoke tasked the National Sports Commission, NSC and the AFN on the need to go back to the grassroots to develop sports.

Having advised them to go back to the drawing board, the NSC and AFN thought it wise to approach Imoke to ask him on ways on how to perform well in international competitions, which he accepted.

Imoke did not only accept to give them some useful ideas, as his state also hosted the All African Athletics Championship, which served as the trials for the Olympic trials.

It was also in these quarters under review that the AFN got the services of ex-athlete, Innocent Egbunike as national athletics coach.

This review will be incomplete without mentioning the fact it signaled the end of a 21-yr-old athletics sponsorship romance between the Mobil Nigeria and the AFN.

The end of romance however did not go down well with former AFN President, Yomi Adeyemi-Wilson, who advocated for a reunion between both parties.

Adeyemi-Wilson, who was President of the AFN 1997-2001 said the strained relationship would have a negative effect on the performance of Nigerian athletes in international competitions.

He noted that the Mobil Track and Field event was a pool, where athletes were being picked for international competitions.

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Posted by on December 14, 2012, 2:44 pm. Filed under Local, News, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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