Abba, AFN bicker over World Championships miss

In what seems to be a repeat of events at the eve of last year’s Tokyo Olympic Games where Nigeria lost 10 athletes due to the ‘Out of Competition’ tests, sprinters Ezinne Abba and Akintola Alaba will miss the World Athletics Championship which starts tomorrow in Eugene, Oregon.

The American-born Ezinne, lashing out in frustration yesterday where she expressed her disappointment in a post on her Instagram page, revealed she was on her way to the airport to board a flight to the Games when she received a message from Nigeria that she will not be partaking in the Championships.

Having completed two of three drug tests required, the Nigerian authorities told her they were scared she could fail the third.

The 21-year-old completed a nationality switch from the United States of America to represent Nigeria ahead of the Championships.

Meanwhile, the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has described as unfortunate Abba’s outburst, blaming the federation and the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare for her inability to make Team Nigeria’s list to the World Athletics Championships.

AFN Secretary General, Prince Adisa Adeniyi Beyioku said Abba cannot force herself into the team after failing to compete in any individual event at the Nigerian Championships in Benin City last month.

“Miss Abba did not compete in any individual event at the Nigerian Championships in Benin City which was used as selection trials for both the World Athletics Championships and the Commonwealth Games;this means her selection will no longer be on merit but at the discretion of the AFN,” Beyioku said in a statement yesterday.

“Miss Abba has not also completed the mandatory three out of competition tests for the championships as she was not under the radar of the Nigerian anti-doping agency until recently when her change of allegiance from the United States of America to Nigeria was granted by World Athletics.

“The AFN is appalled that Miss Abba has dragged the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare into a matter that is 100% at the discretion of the AFN,” he added.

In a related development, Akintola Alaba, who is also facing the same challenge as Ezinne, shared a post on social media to express his displeasure.

The post read: “Sadly, I’m going to be out of world championship after I qualified for 3 events(100M,200M & 4*100M) not because I failed dope but because of politics because that’s what it looks like; they hid under the umbrella of OCT(out of competition test) meaning I didn’t submit my whereabouts or whatever(been on this shii since march ). “They already cost me a major championship (that’s they plan ikr) and I knew they know what they doing/did . Thanks to everyone that cared and showed love, really appreciate it Stepping stone to greater things MT on me,” he wrote on Instagram.

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