AFN, ministry’s negligence affected my participation in Oregon, Birmingham Games, laments Ezinne

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor

United States-based Nigerian Athlete, Ezinne Abba has lambasted the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) for negligence that has resulted in her ineligibility to compete in the 2022 World Athletics Championship in Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Ezinne recently switch her allegiance from the USA to fulfil her dreams of competing for Nigeria on the world stage but met a shocker in her life when a week for Nigeria contingents to journey to the USA for the World Athletics event, she was told her name was not on the list.

According to 100 & 200m sprinter who came second in 100m race at Pac-12 Track and Field Championship, Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon, on May 15, 2022, she has prepared herself mentally and physically for the contest after her first hamstring injury. The Trumpet Gathered

“It has always been my dream to compete for Nigeria on the world stage. But, despite reaching the world standard, flying to Nigeria alone, switching my allegiance from the US, and mentally/physically preparing myself after my first-ever hamstring strain, the athletics federation of Nigeria has failed me,” Ezinne lamented.

“The negligence and egocentric actions of the Minister and other [administrators] have once again overcome the federation which negatively affects the athletes,” the Nigerian athlete complained.

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Ezinne three months ago, ran her personal best in the 100m sprint of 11.12s at Mt. SAC Relays, Hilmer Lodge Stadium, Walnut, California.

The disheartened 21-year-old claimed that she was informed about 40minutes before her flight to Oregon adding that the federation are being coarse by irrational fear.

She added that of the three required drug tests for competing athletes, she has successfully completed two (2/3) while being denied the third for fear of failure on the part of the federation.

Ezinne continued: “Why am I being told 40 minutes before my flight to Oregon, the week of competition, that I’m no longer competing because of their wrongdoings and irrational fear? I have already passed 2/3 drug tests, but for some reason, I am not allowed to do my third test because of fear of failure.”

She opined that despite the changes the federation is undergoing by hiring new staff to rejigging the system, the national athletics governing body is still submerged in corrupt practices.

“They speak repeatedly about trying to fix the broken system that is Nigerian athletics by firing and hiring all new staff but the corruption still lives. I, unfortunately, will not be competing at worlds or the commonwealth games,” Ezinne said.

Recall that in Japan Olympics 2020, Nigeria selected 23 athletes of which 10 were denied to compete including Annette Echikunwoleke who switched allegiance for not having an Out of Competition Test (OCT).

Following Blessing Okagbare’s doping case, Nigeria have been kept under strict surveillance by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) in charge of doping issues since reportedly, the country has not been testing their athletes as it ought to be on doping.

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