The Chief Executive Officer of Nilayo Sports Management Limited, Hon. Bukola Olopade has congratulated Chief Tonobok Okowa on his emergence as the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).
Hon. Olopade noted that Chief Okowa’s emergence is capable of further strengthening and taking Athletics in Nigeria to a greater height and expressed optimism that his reign as the AFN head will be extremely fruitful.
The former Commissioner for sports in Ogun State whose Marketing company, Nilayo Sports Management Limited has its stronghold in Athletics revealed that Nilayo Sports Management Limited is looking forward to a continious synergy with the AFN particularly at a time that the maiden edition of the Ijebu Heritage Half Marathon is approaching.
“On behalf of everyone at Nilayo Sports Management Limited, I say Congratulations to Chief Tonobok Okowa, we are quite excited about his triumph, his rich CV gives us a confidence that Athletics will continue to be on the rise in Nigeria”.
“Athletics is our first love at Nilayo Sports so we are elated that a capable, intelligent and influential administrator has emerged”.
Hon. Olopade assured the new AFN boss of the unflinching support of Nilayo Sports and stressed that he’s already looking forward to an envisaged working relationship.
Nilayo Sports Management Limited are the right owners of the prestigious Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, the IAU African Championship, and the great Abeokuta 10km race among other notable sporting events in the country.
Okagbare Set New Records In Olympics Trials
Blessing Okagbare says she is ready to roll in Tokyo at the Olympics. And Nigerians believe her on the strength of her historic race at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Olympic Trials at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos.
The 32-year-old scorched to a 10.63 seconds finish to tie Jamaican, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce time as 2021 world lead.
Okagbare says the race has given her renewed confidence of a memorable performance at the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Four years ago she didn’t make it to the final of the 100m. She has not ran in any final of the sprint events since 2015 when she raced to an 11.02 seconds finish to place eigth at the World Athletics Championship in Beijing, China.
Many local watchers of the sport erroneously thought Old Father Time had booked an appointment with the 2014 double Commonwealth Games champion, that her time was up.
Like a true Nigerian, Okagbare never let down her guard as she kept and still keeps working hard to erase that wrong perceptions, She rose from the disappointment of missing the track, her second home in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic to make a statement at the indoor season, setting two personal bests in the 60m (7.10) and 200m (23.01). That was 11 years after she last competed indoors.
Outdoors she continued from where she left off indoors, first scorching to a 53.21 personal best in the 400m. On the strength of that performance, many athletics followers believe the long legged sprinter would become the first African woman to run a sub-22 seconds in the 200m.
No one paid any attention to the 100m until the Sapele-born sprinter raced to a 10.90 seconds personal season’s best at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Doha, Qatar in May.
Okagbare showed a glimpse of what to come at the semifinal of the event at the AFN Tokyo Olympic trials when she effortlessly ran 10.99 seconds to set a new championship record.
But not many expected she would run faster than the 10.79 seconds Nigerian record she ran in London in 2013.
Like a bolt out of the blues, Okagbare uncharacteristically stormed out of the blocks in first place and was never headed as she stopped the clock at 10.62 seconds before it was rounded up to 10.63 seconds.
History has been made in front of a supportive Youth and Sports Development Minister, Mr Sunday Dare and the new president of the AFN, Tonobock Okowa who were watching the events live at the venue.
Okagbare has made further history not only as the first woman to run a sub 11 seconds at the National championship but also the first to break 10.70 seconds.
Her scorching 10.63 seconds performance is also a new African record. Only Florence Griffith Joyner who holds the world record at 10.49 seconds has run faster.
The Nigerian has now emerged one of the favourites for the 100m gold at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who first ran 10.63 seconds this season at the JOA/JAAA Olympic Destiny Series 3 meet at the National stadium in Kingston, Jamaica and Sha Carri Richardson, the 2019 NCAA 100m queen who has achieved 10.72 seconds this season.
A transparent and credible election in Abuja, NOC Deputy Secretary General
The Nigerian Olympics Committee Deputy Secretary General who also serve as the President Nigerian Archery Federation, Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi has commended the electoral process of the AFN elections.
“First and foremost, I want to commend the process that led to the election of Chief Tony Okowa. It was an election that is worthy of emulation, election that is transparent and as well fair.
I’m proud to be associated with an election where people actually have their mandate and voice.The process was timely and credible”.
The NOC Deputy General Secretary urged the board members led by Chief Tony Okowa to be steadfast, up doing and as well ensure that in this 4years athletes is moved to the next level.
“I want to congratulate and urge you that work should begin in Ernest”, NOC Deputy General concluded.
Minister Sets Agenda For Newly Elected AFN Board
Minister of Youth and Sports Development Mr. Sunday Dare has charged the newly elected board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria to be focused and remain above board in the discharge of their responsibility, Sportivation.com.ng reports.
The Minister gave the charge on Tuesday in Abuja when he Inaugurated the newly elected board led by Chief Tonobok Okowa.
In his words,” This is indeed a new dawn for Track and Field in Nigeria as exemplified by the way you conducted your elections strictly in accordance with the 2017 constitution of your Federation as recommended by both World Athletics and the Confederation of African Athletics.
“This shows a new seed of hope has germinated to replace some of the rotten seeds sowed some four years ago. You must avoid the pitfall of the past and follow not just the constitution of the AFN, but also work within the laws of our sovereign country, Nigeria”.
The Minister assured that the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development will continue to support the newly elected executive to take the AFN to a greater height.
Chief Tonobok Okowa in his acceptance speech, thanked the Ministry while reiterating his commitment to make the welfare of Athletes, Coaches and officials a priority as well as to unite the Federation devoid of sentiment.
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