Nigeria Athletics Federation has announced that Nigeria’s athletes will not compete in the World Athletics Relays, which will take place in Poland from May 1 to 2, 2021.

Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, the AFN’s factional chief, said this in a statement on Thursday titled, “Sports ministry scuttles Nigeria’s World Relays participation.”

However, John Akanji, a media aide to Sunday Dare, the sports minister, denied that the sports ministry had scuttled Nigeria’s involvement.

“The Nigerian athletes were refused visas by the Polish embassy,” Akanji said, despite the fact that Shehu-Gusau is not the recognized AFN president.

A leadership crisis is currently rocking the Nigerian athletics body with the sports ministry backing a faction headed by one Olamide George.

“Nigeria will not compete in the World Relays because the Ministry of Youth and Sports chose to take the athletes on a training tour in the United States for the same relays that they have yet to qualify for, rather than a pre-Olympic Games qualification in Poland,” the Shehu Gusau-led AFN said in a statement.

“The information at our disposal is that athletes who were supposed to represent Nigeria at the World Athletics Relays in Silesia, Poland were taken to the USA Embassy to obtain visas for a training tour of an event they were yet to qualify for.

“The scheduled relays in Poland were meant to enable Nigeria to secure qualification for the Olympic Games in Tokyo but to our disbelief, the athletes’ passports were diverted to the USA Embassy to secure visas for a training camp for an event they are yet to qualify for. How can a qualification competition in Poland which was our best bet be ignored for a training camp in
the USA?

“This is one of the numerous reasons why sports in Nigeria should be allowed to be administered according to international best practices.”

 

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