Organisers of the first South West Athletics Secondary Schools Invitational and Relays have announced that the competition will take place between November 11 and 13, 2021 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
The athletics meeting will be the first in a series of programme of activities released by the governing body for track and field events in the South-West zone affiliated to the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, after which there will be a seminar on doping for elite athletes from the zone and certified coaches.
The South-West Athletics is also planning an inclusive all secondary schools athletics competition that will be done in all the 18 senatorial zones in the six states that make up the zone namely Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti.
The competition will have the senators representing all 18 senatorial zones fully involved as part of their constituency projects.
The association has also set up a committee headed by Professor Olatunde Makanju, Chairman of the Osun State Athletics Association to interface with various institutions in Nigeria and abroad with a view to creating scholarship opportunities for talents discovered during its competitions.
An Athletics Academy will also be set up to ensure talents discovered are monitored and nurtured to become elite athletes capable of representing Nigeria at international competitions including the Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, Sprinter, Enoch Adegoke, who returned to Nigeria to the final of the 100m at the Olympics since 1996 and sprint hurdler, Tobiloba Amusan, who made history with her Wanda Diamond League victory in Zurich, were also hailed for being worthy ambassadors of the zone.
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Nigerian athletes on their outstanding achievements at the just concluded World Athletics U-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.
In a statement by his special media aide, Femi Adesina, on Monday, Buhari commended the team and their handlers for showing that Nigeria is blessed with some of the best sporting talents, who by dint of hard work and perseverance, can dazzle anytime and anywhere.
Nigeria won four gold and three bronze to finish third on the final medals table. And President Buhari believes that the nation’s sports ambassadors and the contingent have every reason to celebrate their well-deserved laurels, while putting the track and field world on notice of their intentions to surpass their achievements in the nearest future.
He thanked the victorious athletes for flying the country’s flag high at the competition, breaking new records from personal bests, national and championship records.
Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs outshone a field of unusual suspects to claim a shock Olympic gold in the men’s 100 metres on Sunday, breaking retired Jamaican star Usain Bolt’s 13-year hold on the blue riband event.
Jacobs, 26, timed a European record of 9.80 seconds, with American Fred Kerley taking silver in 9.84sec in one of the most understated major championship 100m races of recent times.
Canada’s Andre de Grasse, a bronze medallist at the 2016 Rio Games, repeated the feat in 9.89sec.
The athletes were introduced in a dramatic light show — the stadium floodlights were shut off and 12 projectors cast 3D images of the world, zooming in to the Tokyo skyline, and then the name of each sprinter.
The lights came back on, swiftly followed by a horrendous false start for Zharnel Hughes in lane four, the Anguilla-born Briton not even bothering to question his disqualification.
Dressed in light blue singlet and lycra shorts, the US-born Jacobs, in lane three, made a good start, held his nerve through the drive phase, and powered through to the line.
Jacobs joyously ran into the arms of Italian teammate Gianmarco Tamberi, who had just shared gold in the men’s high jump and was waiting at the finish line.
The race, run in stifling temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius (84 Fahrenheit), had a distinctly underwhelming build-up and feel to it as hot favourite Trayvon Bromell bombed out of the semi-finals in which China’s Su Bingtian and Jacobs unexpectedly set Asian and European records respectively.
The Tokyo Olympics are the first since Athens in 2004 to take place without Bolt, who went on to win three consecutive Olympic 100m titles in Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro, as well as three straight 200m crowns.
And for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Games, there was no Jamaican in the final, Bolt’s long-time former teammate Yohan Blake failing to qualify from his semi-final.
The field was instead filled with a raft of relatively unknown sprinters, with Jacobs’ main claim to fame a European 60m indoor title earlier this year.
The 100m in Tokyo, and the circus around it, has arguably been a pale imitation of Bolt’s glory years during which the charismatic Jamaican not only dominated the sprints but also captivated a truly global audience.
While the spectacle that Bolt brought to the blue riband event has been missing since his retirement in 2017, so also has been the emergence of a new generation of sprinting hopes.
Many have been lauded as the athlete to fill Bolt’s spikes, but no one has yet lived up to the considerable weight of expectation.
Added to that, the 68,000-capacity Olympic Stadium in Tokyo had no cheering fans because of coronavirus restrictions in the Japanese capital.
Instead, there were sparse pockets of athletes and team officials who did their best to create something of an atmosphere at what is normally one of the most widely anticipated events of the entire Games, commanding a huge worldwide television audience.
Reigning world 100m champion Christian Coleman was provisionally suspended on Wednesday over a missed drugs test, putting him at risk of a two-year ban that would rule him out of next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
The American sprinter is “suspended temporarily from participating in any competition or activity”, said the Athletics Integrity Unit, World Athletics’ anti-doping arm.
Coleman, who only narrowly avoided being banned last year after three violations of anti-doping “whereabouts” rules across 2018 and 2019, revealed details of his latest missed test on Twitter.
The world’s fastest man, who clocked 9.76sec to win 100m gold at last year’s World Championships in Doha, said he had unsuccessfully challenged an AIU finding that he missed a test on December 9, 2019.
“And now this might result in me being suspended from other filing failures that occurred well over a year ago at this point,” Coleman said.
The 24-year-old is now barred from competition pending a hearing under World Athletics anti-doping rules, the AIU website said.
Coleman’s impassioned statement on Twitter was accompanied by what appeared to be a copy of his formal notification from the AIU of a missed test.
Coleman, 24, escaped suspension on a technicality ahead of last September’s World Championships after it emerged he had committed three whereabouts failures in a 12-month period.
Those offences were recorded on June 6, 2018, January 16, 2019 and April 26, 2019.
However, Coleman had successfully argued that the first missed case should have been backdated to the first day of the quarter — April 1, 2018 — meaning the three failures fell just outside the required 12-month period.
But news that Coleman missed another meeting with testers in December means that his offences in January and April of last year now come into play.
Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, any combination of three whereabouts failures — either missing a test or failing to file paperwork on time — within a 12-month period is deemed a doping offence punishable by a two-year suspension.
Two-year suspensions can be reduced to one year if there are mitigating circumstances.
– ‘Purposeful attempt’ –
“I think the attempt on December 9th was a purposeful attempt to get me to miss a test,” Coleman said in a statement posted on his official Twitter account.
“Don’t tell me I ‘missed’ a test if you sneak up on my door (parked outside the gate and walked through…there’s no record of anyone coming to my place) without my knowledge,” Coleman said.
Coleman said testers had visited when he was out shopping for Christmas presents nearby, verifiable by bank statements and receipts.
“I was more than ready and available for testing and if I had received a phone call I could’ve taken the drug test and carried on with my night,” he said.
“I was only made aware of this attempted drug test the next day on December 10th, 2019 by the AIU when I got this failed attempt report out of nowhere.”
The report from the doping control officer posted by Coleman said the tester had arrived at his apartment and had failed to get a response after “multiple, loud knocks were made every 10 minutes” for an hour.
A doorbell next to Coleman’s door was pressed but no ring could be heard. No attempt to reach Coleman by phone was made, according to the document.
“I’ve been contacted by phone literally every other time I’ve been tested,” Coleman said. “Literally. (I don’t know) why this time was different. He even said he couldn’t hear the doorbell so why wouldn’t you call me?”
Coleman said he was tested two days later and added: “I’ve been tested multiple times since, even during quarantine.
“But of course, that doesn’t matter, and the fact that I have never taken drugs doesn’t matter either.”
A retail version of Nike’s Zoom Alphafly NEXT% footwear was unveiled Wednesday by the shoemaker, only days after new World Athletics rules-tightening on prototype shoes.
The Air Zoom Viperfly is aimed for the 100-meter sprint crowd, while Nike’s Air Zoom Victory is designed for 800m to 10-kilometer races, with sales expected to begin this summer.
Just five days earlier, the global track and field governing body introduced tougher rules on footwear for competitors.
Nike’s controversial Alphafly prototype shoes were worn by Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge when he broke the two-hour marathon barrier in Vienna last October.
“For runners, records like the four-minute mile and two-hour marathon are barometers of progress. These are barriers that have tested human potential. When someone like Eliud breaks them, our collective belief about what’s possible changes,” says Tony Bignell, Nike’s vice president of Footwear Innovation.
“Barriers are inspiring to innovators. Like athletes, when a barrier is in front of us, we are challenged to think differently and push game-changing progress in footwear design.”
The NEXT% designs are aimed at maximizing sports science with design to boost body performance through technological enhancement.
The latest version adds air pods in the forefoot and foam in the heel.
“The groundbreaking research that led to the original Vaporfly unlocked an entirely new way of thinking about marathon shoes,” said Carrie Dimoff, an elite marathoner and member of Nike’s Advanced Innovation Team.
“Once we understood the plate and foam as a system, we started thinking about ways to make the system even more effective.”
“That’s when we struck upon the idea of adding Nike Air to store and return even more of a runner’s energy and provide even more cushioning.”
Viperfly incorporates an innovative new carbon plate in the shoe sole designed to provide responsiveness and energy, following deep study of race strategy and performance and runner’s needs over the final 20 meters of a sprint.
Victory has foam, a carbon fiber plate and a unique welded sole that divides the unit into two separate pockets provides impact protection and allows for a smooth transition without sacrificing control.
Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei shattered Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old world record Sunday, winning the Chicago Marathon in two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds.
Kosgei broke the mark of 2:15:25 set by Radcliffe in the London Marathon on April 13, 2003 as she won in Chicago for the second straight year.
Kosgei, the 25-year-old who also won in London in April and clocked the fastest half-marathon in history this year of 1:04:28 at the Great North Run, quickly separated herself from the women’s field as she ran with two male pace-setters.
Lawrence Cherono made it a Kenyan double with victory in the men’s race, as Mo Farah finished a distant eighth to end a week when he hit back at critics over his work with disgraced coach Alberto Salazar.
Kosgei crossed the finish line alone, with Ethiopians Ababel Yeshaneh and Gelete Burka a second and third in 2:20:51 and 2:20:55.
“I’m happy and I feel good,” Kosgei said. “People were cheering all along the course, which gave me more energy.
“I felt my body was moving, moving, moving so I went for it.”
While the IAAF called the 2:17:01 clocked by Mary Jepkosgei Keitany at the 2017 London Marathon a “women only” world record posted without male pace-setters, it’s Radcliffe’s mark — so long untouchable — that has been the grail for female marathon runners.
The British great was in Chicago and posed for photos with Kosgei.
“I think we’ve always known that time was going to come,” Radcliffe said. “When I saw how fast Brigid was running in the first part of the race, if she was able to hold that together, she was always going to beat the time.”
Radcliffe had also held the Chicago course record of 2:17:18 — set in winning the 2002 race in what was then a world record.
“That was a very special day for me and it’s a very special day for Brigid today,” Radcliffe said.
Kosgei’s performance continued a remarkable weekend in the punishing event, coming a day after fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to break two hours at the distance when he clocked 1hr 59min 40.2sec on a specially prepared course in a Vienna park.
Kosgei signalled her intentions with an astonishing first five kilometers in 15:28 — so far inside Radcliffe’s world record pace that it seemed she might have ruined her chances out of the gate.
But she settled into a more sustainable rhythm, and powered relentlessly to the finish line.
Her halfway split of 1:06:59 had Kosgei comfortably inside world-record pace, and her lead expanded over the second half as her pursuers felt the effects.
The pace-setters dropped away in the closing kilometers, leaving Kosgei to break the tape alone, her arms raised in celebration.
Cherono sprints to win
Cherono won a men’s race that came down to the wire in 2:05:45 — barely edging Ethiopia’s Dejene Debela who was second in 2:05:46 with another Ethiopian, Asefa Mengstu, third in 2:05:48.
Last year’s winner Farah was never a factor — finishing in 2:09:58.
The Briton — who set a European record in Chicago last year — was among an early lead group that began to disintegrate around the 10km mark, leaving half a dozen runners, including Cherono, setting the pace.
Kenya’s Bedan Karoki challenged late but faded before the last turn toward the finish to leave Cherono, Debela and Mengstu to sprint for the line.
“All of a sudden when we reached 41 kilometers the (others) were not going again,” Cherono said. “I decided to kick and felt I was still having enough energy to sprint.
“I tried my luck, and it worked.”
US distance running guru Salazar has been banned for four years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for a string of doping violations.
Nike shut down its Oregon Project running group headed by Salazar, and four-time Olympic gold medalist Farah arrived in Chicago for his defence to find himself again denying any irregularities during his time with the coach.
South African 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya on Thursday said she was “unquestionably a woman“ after the IAAF denied reports that it would argue that she should be classified as a biological male.
Semenya, 28, issued the statement ahead of a landmark hearing at the Court of Arbitration (CAS) next week that will challenge a proposed rule by the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) aiming to restrict testosterone levels in female runners.
“Ms Semenya is unquestionably a woman. She is a heroine and an inspiration to many around the world,” her lawyers said in a statement.
“She asks that she be respected and treated as any other athlete.”
The rules would force so-called “hyperandrogenic” athletes or those with “differences of sexual development” (DSD) to keep testosterone levels below a prescribed amount.
The rules were to have been instituted in November 2018 but have been put on ice pending next week’s hearings.
Supported by the South African Athletics Federation, the two-time Olympic champion in the 800m (2012, 2016) and three-time world champion (2009, 2011, 2017) has denounced the proposals.
“I just want to run naturally, the way I was born. It is not fair that I am told I must change. It is not fair that people question who I am,” she has said previously.
“She looks forward to responding to the IAAF at the upcoming CAS hearing,” Semenya’s legal team said, adding that “her genetic gift should be celebrated, not discriminated against”.
As well as Semenya, the silver and bronze medallists of the 800m at the Rio Olympics, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Kenya’s Margaret Wambui, have also faced questions about their testosterone levels.
“The IAAF is not classifying any DSD athlete as male,” the IAAF said in a statement. “To preserve fair competition in the female category, it is necessary to require DSD athletes to reduce their testosterone down to female levels.”
A CAS spokesman confirmed to AFP on Thursday that the hearing is scheduled for next week in Lausanne from Monday to Friday with Semenya in attendance.
Channels Television has announced the launch of a new grassroots development programme tagged the “Channels Track and Field Classics”.
The athletics competition is for boys and girls in Secondary schools, under the age of 17.
Participants must be bona fide students of their schools and will be required to provide genuine proof of identification.
The two-day event will take place on November 11 and 12, 2018 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium and will commence on both days at 9:00 am.
For the maiden edition, the tournament will be strictly invitational for schools in Lagos State where over 1000 students from the six educational districts in the state will compete.
Participants will compete in the following events:
100 metres 200 metres 400 metres 4 X 100 metres relay 4 X 400 metres relay 400 metres hurdles 800 metres Long Jump
The major objective of the competition is to re-ignite the interest of athletics in schools, discover and nurture talents for the country.
In conjunction with the Lagos State Sports Commission, the event will monitor the talents after the tournament and also encourage them to excel in their education.
Channels Television’s grassroots development campaign started in 2009 with the Kids Cup – a football competition for U-13 boys in primary schools which is now an international tournament, with schools from Ghana and Benin Republic competing.
The track and field classics will also feature an exhibition event involving visually impaired and amputee athletes.
Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, says the state is ready to host the 2018 Confederation of African Athletics’ (CAA) African Senior Athletics Championship.
The governor who said this on Thursday in Asaba also revealed that the Stephen Keshi Stadium, venue of the championship, would be ready for use in May.
He spoke to reporters in the state capital during one of his periodic visits to inspect the ongoing construction work at the stadium, with a view to ensuring that the contractor works according to schedule.
As part of preparations ahead of the tournament which takes place in August, Governor Okowa reiterated his commitment to ensuring that all is set and in place for the upcoming competition.
“I am told by the contractors that looking onto the month of May, they should be completing this project and I believe that once the stadium is completed, some of these national assignments and competitions will also take place here.
“The President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has already spoken towards that because once something is good, it cannot be hidden,” he said.
The governor further revealed that the state government is planning to promote sporting activities in its effort to engage the youths with more productive activities.
Accompanied some top government officials, Okowa inspected some facilities at the stadium which include grassing for field, construction of the tartan tracks, the VIP lounges, and training areas among others.
The Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba has a sitting capacity of 22,000 and it is expected to serve the purpose of the athletics championship.