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30 INVITED FOR REGION II CHAMPIONSHIPS

By NBF News

30 invited for Region II Championships
By Yemi Olus
March 17, 2010 01:28AM
Bukola Pereira on track. Photo: NEXT
Two months to the CAA Region II Youth Athletics Championships scheduled to take place in Dakar, Senegal, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria has released the list of athletes that will be representing the country in the event.

Improvement
Camp opened on March 14 in Oghara Delta State, giving the athletes more time at camp than they had in the build up to last's year's edition. The athletes had been hurriedly called to camp barely two weeks to the event and failed to stand out among their African counterparts.

However, this year's edition of the event is expected to serve as the trials for the Youth Olympics coming up September in Singapore.

Those invited
The athletes, who are about 30 in number, were selected at the end of the Nkoyo Ibori Classics, which took place at the beginning of the month in Oghara, Delta State.

They include Pereira Oluwabukola (1500m, Girls), Agber Shimenege (1500m, Girls), Ogunseye Goke (1500m, Boys), Bamgbala Rahmon (1500m, Boys), Nwoye Augustine (Shot Put, Boys), Nkeiruka Uwakwe (100m, Girls), Hope Jacob (100m, Girls) and Emmanuel Gyang (5000m, Boys).

Others are Olajide Abiola (Long Jump, Boys), Harry Chukwudi (100m, Boys), Adewale Adebusola (Long Jump, Girls), Isa Umar (400m, Boys), Ogunkoya Muibat (800m, Girls) and Rita Ossai (400m, Girls).

Abass Rauf, Gabriel Opuana, Ishola Oladipupo, Maria Usifo, Godwin Mayuku and George Abadoni are among coaches selected to supervise the athletes with Haruna Bako acting as the Camp Co-ordinator.

Counterproductive camping
Reacting to this development, one of the coaches, Abass Rauf, who is the Head Coach of Greater Tomorrow Athletics Club in Lagos, believes that the system of inviting athletes to camp sometimes is counterproductive. 'Camping sometimes affects the athlete's performance because their training programme is changed and their personal coaches know their strongest and weakest points most since they have been with them from day one,' he said. 'However, I think the Technical Director, Sunday Bada is really determined to change things and I believe it will work out.'

Despite this, the coach is pleased that five of his athletes were selected and he believes they have what it takes to make it to the final list of those that will represent the continent in Singapore.

'I'm happy my athletes are there because this is a developmental programme and it's best to catch them young. I hope they make the final team and I also urge the AFN to continue to encourage young coaches like us who are working hard to get athletes that will get to the podium,' Rauf said.

Apart from releasing the list of athletes for the event, the Athletics Federation also called on experienced hands to help out with the Commonwealth Games and the African Championships scheduled to take place in India and Kenya respectively later in the year.