The Arena Athletics Academy on Monday announced plans to host a Triangular Athletics Meet in June this year, having been granted hosting license by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
The Academy’s Media Director, Fred Oriunuebho, said in Lagos that the academy would organise national track and field competitions in three states across the country for the season.
The director said this would be the first time a private body would be organising a sanctioned national triangular meet since the AFN announced a policy shift.
The policy shift has gradually seen its functions change from organising competitions to maintaining oversight functions on track and field in the country.
As part of the shift, licenses were awarded to a number of organisations to organise competitions in the country.
Oriunuebho quoted Iyere Eyieyien, the Chief Executive Officer of the Academy, as saying the month long triangular meet would take place over three weekends with two weeks interval.
He added that in line with the Academy’s mission to re-invigorate athletics in Nigeria, the University of Port Harcourt, Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro and Yaba College of Technology have been selected.
Oriunuebho said that “we want to provide a platform that ensures that our athletes compete and hit their peak at the right time to excel both in national and international competitions.
“And at the same time rewarding them handsomely for their efforts,” he said in a statement.
Oluyomi Sule, the Academy’s Technical Director, noted that the the recent downward slide in performance at the global stage could be traced to lack of adequate competitions for the home-based athletes.
“Since they say the best form of training is competitions, we have put plans in place to stage the best national track and field competition ever seen on Nigeria’s soil,” he added.
Sule said that the triangular meet would serve to prepare the home-based athletes for the world athletics championships and all African Games trials.
“It will create opportunities for the home-based athletes to achieve their various set standards for the World Athletics Championships.
“It will also give opportunity to athletes who are in wrong events to try out new ones with the same energy system rather than waste away on mediocre performance,’’ Oriunuebho quoted Sule as saying.
He, however, said Sule appealed to other private sectors to collaborate with the Academy and AFN in ushering in a golden era for athletics.
The Academy was inaugurated three years ago with a mission to revitalise Nigerian athletics in two major areas of training and development. (NAN)