It is no longer news that the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Golden League which was initially slated to hold in Lagos from January 26th to 27th, has now been moved to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, although the initial date is still being retained.
This was announced in a correspondence from the AFN secretariat to clubs and state associations on Monday, and the decision has generated a mixed reaction from stakeholders, with several athletes voicing their disappointment with the move which has brought about a change in their plans.
However, in a chat with Making of Champions, AFN Technical Director Sunday Adeleye stated that it was necessary to move the 2nd leg of the Golden League to Port Harcourt, following concerns with the facility in Lagos, as well as other reasons. He said:
“We already have a lot of athletes in camp at the High Performance Centre in Port Harcourt so we feel that it is more convenient to hold the competition there since the bulk of athletes are already there. Also, there have been series of complaints about the facility in Lagos which we planned to use.
“First of all the excessive wind at the Yaba College of Technology would affect the times. Also, there are other technical issues that have to do with the track there. We didn’t want to have any problems with the ratification of the times run there.
“Furthermore, some of the equipment needed for the competition are not readily available in Yabatech and will have to be transported to the venue, and a lot of other challenges as well, so the Golden League is now holding at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, which has a beautiful new track which is complete.
“All the facilities are intact and the stadium had only been used for Football hitherto, so we are now taking Athletics there as well. The stadium is covered so that takes care of the issue of excessive wind.”
Following the first leg of the Golden League which was held in Kaduna in December, Adeleye believes that the track at the Amiesimaka Stadium may attract some good times, even though he admits that it is still early in the season:
“Athletes are gearing up for the season and are hungry to compete; a lot of them in camp didn’t even go home during the festivities because of their commitment to training. I believe the best form of training is competition so we are looking forward to the Golden League. I am not expecting anything spectacular but I believe that the new track could inspire some fast times.”
The arrival date for the competition is January 25th, and the events to be competed in are the men and women’s 200m, men and women’s 400m, men and women’s Javelin, men and women’s Shot put, men and women’s Triple Jump, men and women’s 20km race, 100m and 110m Hurdles, 10,000m (men), Long Jump (men), 5,000m (women), High Jump (women) and Decathlon.