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Gadzama salutes Amusan, says AFN will stick to its ‘No Trials, No World Championships’ rule

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Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN, first Vice President, Tafida Gadzama says World 100m hurdles champion, Tobi Amusan deserves to be appreciated as a great ambassador of track and field in Nigeria.

The 26 year old was the star athlete at the 2023 Nigerian Track and Field Championships which ended on Friday in Benin city, capital of Edo state.

The reigning African, Commonwealth and Diamond League champion ran 12.70 to make it a hat-trick of 100m hurdles wins at the championships and expressed, in a Facebook post, her readiness to always come home to run as a mark of honour for her country, Nigeria.

Gadzama is thrilled with the exemplary attitude of the world champion and assures the AFN will ensure those who feel bigger than the federation and Nigeria will not be selected for the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary next month.

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‘The AFN issued a statement days to the championships that athletes must participate in our championships which served as the trials for the World Championships to be eligible for selection.

‘Albeit I was not privy to the decision like majority of our members on the board of AFN, I however feel athletes should not only respect the federation and their country but also their fellow athletes.

‘This is the greatest disrespect you can show to your fellow athletes. I was once an athlete and during our time, the rule was forcefully enforced. I will resist any attempt by any external body to influence the President into making a U-turn that will portray the rest of us as lily-livered, as dogs that can only bark but not bite,’ said the Sydney Olympics gold medal winner.

Gadzama is also thrilled an achiever like Ese Brume, who has won all available medals in all competitions for Nigeria also did not feel too big to be at the championships.

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‘Ese is like Tobi. Very humble and always smiling. I also salute our student athletes like Favour Ashe, Dubem Nwachukwu, Ella Onojuvwevwo, Imaobong Nse Uko and a few others who graced our flagship event.

‘Tell me, if your big stars stay away from your flagship event that you can use to showcase the federation and its rising profile, how then do you want to properly market the federation?
‘Can a federation where indiscipline is glorified be attractive to sponsors,’ asked Gadzama who praised Ismaila Abubakar, the Sports Ministry’s Permanent Secretary for telling the AFN to stick to its rules.

‘Thank you sir for remind us we must not allow indiscipline to fester in the federation.’

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