First batch of Nigerian athletes to the World Athletics Championships landed in Budapest, Hungary, yesterday, amidst anxious wait by officials for the clearance of world record holder in the 100m hurdles, Tobi Amusan, by the Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU).
The athletics showpiece will commence on August 19 and end on 27 of this month.
The first group of Nigerian athletes jetted out from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos through a Turkish Airlines flight.
Athletics Federation of Nigeria’s (AFN) Technical Director, Samuel Onikeku, confirmed to The Guardian yesterday that virtually all the athletes based in Nigeria and in the United States left for Budapest yesterday to acclimatise to the weather and to put finishing touches to their preparations for the championships.
The first batch of athletes from Nigeria was accompanied by the duo of Coach Tony Osheku and Gabriel Okon. Also in the team are a team doctor and a physiotherapist.
“About 80 per cent of the athletes have left for Budapest, so that they can get adequate rest,” Onikeku stated. “We are hopeful of a good outing, not only in the relays, but also in other events.
“We are expecting surprises from every angle, just like Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume did at the Oregon World Championships. Our major task would be to get as many of the athletes to the finals and of course go for the medals,” he added.
One of the athletes, 400m runner, Opeyemi Deborah Oke, looks forward to a fruitful competition in her first World Championships.
“We have prepared very well and by the grace of God, we are looking forward to having a good outing,” Oke, a former junior athlete stated.
AFN President Tonobok Okowa, who is still in Lagos, stated yesterday that he was expecting good news to come from AIU in Amusan’s case.