Nigeria’s home based athletes will have to literally pass through the eye of a needle if anyone of them is to emerge as co-winners of this year’s Golden League jackpot. The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) on Monday released a statement, with an enticing N1.5million on offer for different winners who pass all the tests needed to claim it.
The Golden League can be considered a domestic version of the ongoing of IAAF Diamond League, and these meets, which usually comprise of at least five legs across various cities, have been narrowed down to three in 2015, due to challenges in financing the competition.
In these series of competition, athletes will be looking towards reaching the qualification mark needed for the 2015 World ChampionshipChampionships in Beijing and All-Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville. At the moment, just a few athletes have secured qualification spots, and those who have done so achieved this feat outside the shores of Nigeria.
Some athletes who have already met the qualifying standards include Commonwealth DOUBLE sprint champion, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguenor, former 400m National champion, Regina George, Peace Uko and High Jump queen, Doreen Amata by virtue of some of the meets they have participated in abroad. Now, the onus is on the local athletes to step up in the Golden League and earn a place on the Nigerian team.
Three All-Comers trials have been held this year in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt respectively, and the best times posted in those events are way off the qualification mark, leading to the pertinent question of how competitive the Nigerian team to Beijing will be.
So, can the AFN’s N1.5m jackpot spur them?
Money no doubt can be a motivating factor in so many things, especially if it is a reward for hard-work, which acts as some gratification for efforts deployed in a venture. So, will the athletes be fulfilled at the end of the Golden League competition? A big question that is quite difficult to give a straight answer to.
Some of the rules put in place ahead of the three-legged event look very difficult. It was stated that to qualify for the Jackpot Prize, an athlete must win in all legs of the Golden League in Anambra (which holds on Thursday), Kaduna and Ilorin and participate in the Golden League Final. It therefore goes without saying, that any athlete who misses any leg in the series for any reason, stops being in contention for the jackpot.
A release signed by the Technical Committee states the following: “The AFN Technical Committee after a critical assessment of athlete’s performances in the last one year has decided that athletes must achieve the following standards on the IAAF Scoring Table to qualify for Prize Monies irrespective of positions attained in the events. Athletes must score a minimum of 1070 points for track sprint events and 1050 for other track events.
“For jumps, athletes must score a minimum of 1050 points and score a minimum of 900 points for throw events. In Race Walk, athletes must score a minimum of 700 points and 350 points for men and women respectively. 10 points will be awarded only once to any athlete that achieves the World Championships qualification standard as set by the AFN, while an athlete will be scored 20 points for any ratified National Record that is equaled or broken.”
When contacted by MoC, AFN’s Technical Director, Navy Commodore Omatseye Nesiama stated that these standards were set in order to discourage mediocrity among the athletes. It is commendable that standards are being set for athletes; however, is this really the best way to motivate and encourage them to strive for better performances?
Breakdown of expected performances to be achieved to attract prize monies
Golden League Events (Women)
100m (11.68sec), 200m (23.85sec), 400m (53.81sec), 800m (2:05.97), 400m Hurdles (58.37sec), 4x100m Relay (45.82sec), 4x 400m relay (3:38.27sec), High Jump (1.80m), Long Jump (6.29m), Shot put (15.46m).
Promotional Events (Women)
100 Hurdles (13.84sec), 1,500m (4:20.07sec), 3000m (9:16.92sec), 3000m Steeple Chase (10:19.12sec), Race Walk (10k-51:22sec, 20k- 1:46.24sec), Triple Jump (13.55sec), Hammer (58.00m), Discus (50.66m), Javelin (51.31m).
Golden League Events (Men)
100m (10.40sec), 200m (20.98sec), 400m (46.69sec), 800m (1:49.22sec) 1,500m (3:44.30sec), 110m Hurdles (13.97sec), 4x100m Relay (40.16sec), 4x400m Relay (3:07.28sec), High Jump (2.12m), Long Jump (7.64m), Javelin (66.64m).
Promotional Events (Men)
400m Hurdles (51.16sec), 3,000m (9:16.92)/3000m Steeple Chase (8:46.76), 5,000m (13:45.20sec)/10,000m (33:43.47), Race Walk (10k-52.19sec, 20km (1:48.15sec), Triple Jump (16.03m), Hammer (61.36m), Discus (51.45m), Shot Put (16.29m)
Prize Money Structure
1st Position – N40,000 (10 points)
2nd Position – N30,000 (8 points)
3rd Position – N20,000 (6 points)
4th Position – N15,000 (4 points)
5th Position – N10,000 (2 points)
6th Position – N5,000 (1 points)
Top-3 Relay Teams that meet the qualification standards
1st Position – N40,000
2nd Position – N30,000
3rd Position – N20,000
Top-3 Male and Female athletes that meet the standards for the Promotional Events
1st Position – N25,000
2nd Position – N20,000
3rd Position – N15,000