By Anthony Nlebem.
The head coach of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Seigha Porbeni, is confident Nigerian athletes will shine at the combined African U-18 Championships and the 15th African U-20 Championships, which begins Saturday (today) in Lusaka, Zambia, The PUNCH reports.
The AFN named 42 youngsters comprising 23 athletes in the U-18 girls and boys and 19 athletes in U-20 men and women to compete for honours at the championships.
Porbeni said the athletes were in camp for two weeks in Delta State and were subjected to intensive training.
The team departed on Thursday for Lusaka.
“We are very optimistic and ready for the championships, the team went through intensive and rigorous training sessions in two weeks and we are very optimistic, especially in the jumps,” Porbeni told The PUNCH.
He added that Team Nigeria had a strong chance to win medals in the jumps in the indoor events and the hurdles.
“In the jumps, especially in the U-18, there are no Africans jumping 13m and we have two 13m jumpers in U-18 and U-20. We have Ejiro Joma, a 13m women’s triple jumper from Warri and Grace Oshiokpu, who is also a 13m jumper. In the high jump, we have Ewa Peace, she is jumping 173m.
“And we have three boys jumping over 15m this year in our trials in Kaduna, they have even improved on their 15m. Two of our boys are jumping above 210m in the U-18 high jump.
“We are also strong in the indoor event and hurdles, especially in the U-18. Our girls are already running 11.2secs and our boys are running 10.4secs.”