The Athletics Federation of Nigeria has announced that its athletes will not compete in the World Athletics Relays, which will take place in Poland from May 1 to 2, 2021.
AFN’s factional president, Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, captioned, ‘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 athletes were refused visas by the US embassy,” Akanji said, despite the fact that Shehu-Gusau is not the recognized AFN president.
The statement by the Shehu Gusau-led AFN read, “Nigeria will not participate in the World Relays because the Ministry of Youth and Sports opted to take the athletes to a training tour in the United States for the same relays, they are yet to qualify for, instead of a pre- Olympic Games qualification in Poland.
“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
“This is one of the numerous reasons why sports in Nigeria should be allowed to be administered according to international best practices.”