Former Nigerian Athletes Blast AFN Over Jelks

mark jelksFormer Nigerian Athletes, Uchenna Emedolu and Olusoji Fasuba, have frowned at the Athletic Federation of Nigeria over the inclusion of new national men’s 100 metres champion, Mark Jelks, in the team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Jelks, who recently switched nationality from the United States to Nigeria, was named in the 46-man squad for the Games in Glasgow after winning the Cross River State/All-Nigeria Athletics Championships in Calabar in 10.23 seconds, beating former champions Ogho-Oghene Egwero and Obinna Metu in the process.

However, Emedolu and Fasuba are worried that the former American athlete had a drug related issue in 2010, which led to his two-year ban.

Jelks had failed to notify the United States Anti-Doping Agency of his location on three separate occasions within an 18-month period and in line with World Anti-Doping Agency rules, he received a two-year suspension, lasting from August 2010 to 2012.

“It is very wrong to bring a drug-tainted American to compete in Nigeria just because we want to win at all costs. That kind of policy does not encourage the developmental programme we should have in Nigeria’’, Emedolu said.

Former sprinter, Olusoji Fasuba, who holds the African record of 9.85 in 100m, doesn’t understand why the AFN would bring an athlete from America, who is a drug cheat to participate in the Calabar championships which he described as “a once glorified competition”.

“It is a sad day in Nigerian athletics where a nation has to recruit drug cheats from America to participate in a once glorified competition”, Fasuba said.

“It shows the head has failed its people as it can’t provide a way to make our own people (to) succeed.

They bring these athletes that cannot make their own countries’ national teams to represent our beloved country.

“The current board has failed us and it’s time to voice out that what you have done is not only wrong, but an insult to past and current athletes and the nation as a whole’’, Fasuba concluded

LONDON OLYMPICS: Nigeria is out of men’s 4x400m relay

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Tuesday confirmed that Nigeria’s 4x400m men’s relay team will not compete at the London Olympics.

This is contrary to the statement by the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) on Monday which listed the team among the country’s contingent to the Games.

The Nigerian 4x400m relay team is made up of Saul Weigopwa, Abiola Onokoya, Isah Salihu, Tobi Ogunmola, Segun Ogunkole and Godday James.

The team ran 3:02.39 to win the gold medal at the just concluded 18th African Athletics Championships on Sunday in Porto Novo, and they were wrongly informed that the team made the cut for the Olympics.

However, the IAAF on Tuesday released the list of 16 teams that have qualified to participate in the event in London and Nigeria was not included in the list.

According to the IAAF report, “the qualification period for the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relays at the Games of the XXX Olympiad, London 2012 ended on Monday 2 July. The IAAF is pleased to confirm the following 16 teams, per each of the four relays, which have qualified to compete, are as follows…”

Until the victory in Port Novo, Nigeria was ranked out of the top 20 nations but moved to the 18th on the list following last Sunday’s personal season’s best performance in Benin republic.

South Africa and Kenya will be flying the continent’s flag in the London games which will kick-off in a few weeks.

Meanwhile Nigeria still stands a chance to make the games if two of the qualified countries drop out of the event at the quadrennial Games on their own volition.

Nigeria will thus not be competing in the men’s 4x400m relay at the Olympics.

Victory in past relays have accounted for some of the nine medals Nigeria has won in the athletics event of the Olympic Games.