To make appreciable impact at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the African Games in Ghana, United States-based Performance Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Victor Okorie, wants an athlete camp opened in America for track and field stars to practice relay baton exchange, evaluation and team cohesiveness.

The camp, he said, will also save money for the country.

Okorie, who is also AFN’s Liaison Officer, told The Guardian, yesterday, that operating a camp within the U.S. would enable Team Nigeria to give the athletes solid preparation for the African Games and Olympics in 2024.

“As a former athlete, I know the impact of good preparation for a major championship,” Okorie said.

“I know the importance of the 2024 athletics season. We have African Games in March 2024, World Relays and the biggest of it all, the Olympic Games in Paris. That is why I have started reaching out to our athletes and their coaches here in the United States, Europe, and Canada. Over 99.9 per cent of our top athletes reside overseas, and our athletes in the United States account for 99.2 per cent of Nigeria’s elite athletes.

“I plan to form a training camp here in the U.S. where some of our athletes would fly in to do relay baton exchange, evaluation and team cohesiveness,” he stated.

Okorie, a former 400m hurdler, who won a silver medal at COJA 2003 African Games in Abuja, and also represented Nigeria at the 2003 World Athletics Championships in Paris, France, led Nigeria’s contingent to the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon, where Tobi Amusan set a world record in the women’s 100m hurdles and Ese Brume grabbed a silver medal in the women’s long jump.

For the dream of setting up a camp in the U.S. to succeed, Okorie said the AFN needs urgent financial support from the Federal Government.

He said: “I plead with the Minister of Sports to empower the office of the Performance Director and his team to do an effective job here. I want him to succeed, and I believe that with the minister’s support, our athletes will perform well and meet the expectations of Nigerians at the African Games and Olympics in Paris.

The Guardian recalls that poor baton exchange robbed Team Nigeria of medals at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

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