The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) is taking steps to improve the performance of Nigerian athletes at future competitions, particularly the Tokyo 2025 edition of the World Athletics Championships.
After returning from the Budapest 2023 championships without any medals, a board member of the AFN, Prof. Emmanuel Ojeme, has emphasized the need to nurture and guide athletes to achieve their best performance.
Ojeme believes that Nigeria, as the leading country in Africa, should not only participate in sports competitions but also deliver impressive performances.
He acknowledges that Nigeria has talented athletes, particularly among the youth population in communities and schools.
However, he stresses the importance of identifying, training, and supporting these athletes through scientifically structured activities and competitions. This, he believes, will improve Nigeria’s image in world competitions.
Ojeme highlights the significance of personal discipline for athletes’ success. This includes following prescribed nutrition habits, adhering to training schedules, avoiding the use of steroids and doping, and continuously improving skills and fitness.
He also emphasizes the importance of staying focused on the present and future, rather than dwelling on past performances.
In addition to individual athlete efforts, Ojeme calls for collaboration between the AFN, the Sports Ministry, and other stakeholders to discuss the way forward for athletics in Nigeria.
He suggests that coaches and other personnel should receive training and retraining to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and competencies for their roles.
Ojeme sees the Budapest 2023 championships as an opportunity for the development of athletics in Nigeria and urges a review of programs and practices to achieve better outcomes in the future.
The 2025 World Athletics Championships will be held in Tokyo, Japan from September 13 to 21, 2025. It will be the third time that Tokyo has hosted the event, after the 1991 and 2007 editions.
The championships will be held at the National Stadium, which was rebuilt for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The championships will feature over 200 events in track and field, including running, jumping, throwing, and walking events. Athletes from over 200 countries are expected to compete.
Nigeria is one of the most successful countries in African athletics, and is expected to send a strong team to Tokyo.
Some of the athletes to watch from Nigeria include Blessing Okagbare (100 meters), Tobi Amusan (100 meter hurdles), and Ese Brume (long jump).
Other African countries that are expected to compete in Tokyo include Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Morocco.
These countries are all known for their distance running prowess, and are likely to challenge for medals in the marathon, 10,000 meters, and half marathon events.