Athletes and officials of the country’s junior team to Nairobi 2021 World U20 Championships have promised to put up a great performance when the battle for medals begins on Tuesday.
The team will leave Abuja today for the championship, which will run from August 17 to 22.
Speaking with The Guardian at Agura Hotel in Abuja yesterday, Coach Mavuah Esabunor said he was hopeful that the athletes would give a good account of themselves in Nairobi.
Coach Esabunor is one of Nigeria’s unsung heroes in athletics. He has discovered scores of athletes since his coaching career, which began in 1998. He has four athletes in the team to Nairobi 2021. They are sprinter, Godson Brume; female 400 metres hurdler, Ella Onojuvwevwo; sprinter, Mabilo Nicholas and high jumper, Erhire Omamuyovwe, who is one of the four junior athletes coming from the U.S.
Coach Esabunor also discovered U.S.-based sprinter, Raymond Ekevwo, Idjesa Uruemu, Praise Idamadudu, U.S.-based 100m and 200m runners, Success Umukoro and 400m hurdler, Emoghene Timothy.
The first athlete he discovered as a coach was Kayode Yahaya, the coach of Tokyo 2020 Olympics bronze medallist, Ese Brume.
Shortly before he took the athletes out for a light walkout in Abuja yesterday, Esabunor stated that with determination and seriousness on the part of the athletes, Team Nigeria would win medals in Nairobi.
“I am confident our athletes will win medals in Nairobi, but I don’t know the colours. It is always difficult to predict what will happen, at the U-20 level of athletics. But I know the calibre of athletes we are taking to this competition.”
One of the athletes, 400m runner, Godbless Tina, also sounded optimistic, saying; “We are going to Nairobi to do our best for Nigeria.”
One of Nigeria’s best female sprinters, Endurance Ojokolo, a member of the coaching crew to Nairobi 2021 told The Guardian that both the AFN board led by Tonobok Okowa and Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, had given the team all it needed to do well at the junior athletics championship in Kenya.