A 25-man team of Nigerian juniors, is expected to leave this weekend for Barcelona, Spain where the IAAF World Junior Championships is billed to hold from July 10-15.
The athletes who were selected after the Pastor D.K Olukoya Under-20 championships in Lagos last April have been in camp training for the competition and they are hopeful of emulating former Nigerian juniors who made a mark in the past.
One of such athlete, is Omolara Omotosho a revelation in the Athletics Federation of Nigerian golden league this season. Last Sunday she helped the Nigerian women 4x400m to gold at the African Championships in Port Novo, Benin Republic. “I’m looking forward to participating in the World Championships. I have trained very hard for it and by God’s grace I will come back with a medal,” said Omotosho.
Renowned grassroots coach, Tobias Igwe backed Omotosho and other youngsters to shine in Barcelona.
“We have potential medalists like Omotosho, Rita Osai, Jonathan Umuaju who won gold at the recent ECOWAS Games, there is also Nkiruka Nwakwe and Josephine Omaka,” enthused the coach.
Barcelona, Spain holds fond memories for Nigerian athletics. It was there Nigeria’s 4x100m women and men won their first Olympic track and field medal; pictures of Mary Onyali, Beatrice Utondo, Christy Opara and Faith Idehen celebrating their bronze still reminds Nigerians how beautiful it was back in the 90′s. Juniors Deji Aliu and Francis Obikwelu (now Portuguese) won gold in the 100m and 400m respectively at the Barcelona 1992 World Junior Championships.