Nigeria’s most decorated track and field athlete, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi has urged Nigerian coaches and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN to launch an aggressive training programme that will produce quality middle and long distance runners who will challenge the dominance of East African countries.
Onyali-Omagbemi who was speaking ahead of the African Athletics Youth Championships stated that Nigeria needed to expand its dominance of the sprints events on the continent even as other countries are catching up her fast.
“We should be moving into middle and long distances while also maintaining our area of strong hold.
“The athletes are there and they only need to be groomed right from the grassroots. And that is why we are having the Africa Athletics Youth Championships.
“Hopefully all the juniors we identify from this championships should be able to get all the attention they need so that we can have a bit of both in the future. For instance, there is this little girl, Olamide Oluwaseun that set the national record in the steeple chase.
But the pertinent question was that will the AFN be able to sustain a durable production line that will churn out these future champions.
“Government cannot fund sports alone. We should move away from the era of waiting for government to provide funds and when they don’t we begin to cry. There should be a new development where private sector funds should come in just like in all other countries.”