By Dare Esan:
The trio of sprinters Enoch Adegoke and Joy Udo-Gabriel as well as long jumper Arinze Benjamin may miss the IAAF World U-20 Championships which starts in Tampere,a city in southern Finland on Tuesday due to visa hitches, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Amaechi Akawo, Secretary General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria told Complete Sports Sunday night that the athletes are held up in Nigeria because of their inability to secure Schengen Visas.
“It is visa matter that is delaying them o,” Said Akawo to Complete Sports’ editor, Dare Esan in a telephone conversation.
The athletes were expected to have travelled on Friday but could not and the duo of Adegoke and Udo-Gabriel were made to run in the heats of the men and women’s 100m at the All Nigeria track and Field Championships before the athletes’ protest demanding for the sack of Sunday Adeleye,their representatives on the board of the AFN disrupted the event.
If the athletes fail to make the trip, Nigeria may have lost the opportunity of producing world champions in the sprint events and a first ever long jump medal.
Adegoke is ranked the fifth fastest man going into the championships following the 10.19 seconds personal best he ran to win heat four of the 100m first round at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast,Australia last April.
The beautiful,fast-rising Udo-Gabriel is also ranked in the top 10 of the fastest women going to the championships. Her 11.42 seconds personal best she ran in heat five of the 100m first round at the Carara stadium in Australia last April is ranked the seventh fastest time among the 100m competitors for the 100m gold.
While Adegoke’s dream will be to become the fourth Nigerian man after Davidson Ezinwa (1990), Deji Aliu (1994) and Francis Obikwelu (1996) to win the blue ribband gold at the championship, Udo-Gabriel will be aiming to become the second woman after Tina Iheagwan in 1986 to be crowned world champions.