As part the efforts to revive the sport of athletics in the country, the inaugural Ahmed Ahijo Kaita Athletics meet will hold at the Yaba College of Technology Sports Ground, Lagos on February 29th.
The sponsor, Alhaji Ahmed Ahijo Kaita, who is the Chairman of Katsina Athletics Federation disclosed that he is doing this to prepare the country’s athletes ahead of the National Sports Festival in Edo State in March next year and the Japan Tokyo Olympics Games next year August.
He said his decision to do this is informed by the poor runs of Nigeria athletes in international championships recently especially the last World Championship in Doha, Qatar some months ago.
Kaita said the Lagos Meet will be an International of Athletics Association Federations IAAF sanctioned championship adding that gold, silver and bronze medallists will go home with some cash prizes.
According to him, events will hold in 100 metres men and women, 4 x 100 relay, 4 x 400, mixed relay races, shot put, long jump and discuss for men and women.
He said the major focus will be on the relay races which gave Nigeria her first medal at the Olympics in Los Angeles Games in 1984.
The Katsina Athletics boss disclosed that since the relay race of the quartet of Nigeria’s Innocent Egbunike, Sunday Uti, Moses Ugbesien and Rotimi Peters was the first that won the first medal in athletics for the country at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, there is need to focus more on the relay events.
“We want to bring back the old memories of Nigeria in athletics particularly in the relay races at the Olympic level.
“This is what we are coming out to correct. We do not want such abnormal experience of Doha to occur again. We condemn it in totality,” he added.
He also said foreign based athletes representing Nigeria at international competitions must be compelled to take part in trials against the home based as was the practice in the past.
Kaita thanked the Minister of Youth and Sports Development for coming to the rescue of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria AFN by returning the grant mistakenly paid to it last two years ago and for his efforts to reposition sports generally in the country.
” The Sports Minister mean so well for sports especially athletics since he assumed power and that is why he is trying to put the AFN house in order,” he said.