Nigeria athletes Alaba Akintola and Ezinne Abba have lamented their exclusion from Team Nigeria’s contingent to the World Athletics Championships starting in Oregon, United States on Friday.
Both athletes accused officials of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria of playing politics by now registering them for the competition even after making the qualification standards.
Akintola a student of Middle Tennessee State University had hit the qualifying time for both the 100m and the 200m of the World Championships, with a time of 10.04s and 20.26s respectively.
At the Nigerian World Championships/Commonwealth Games Trials held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin, Akintola placed second behind Favour Ashe in the 100m with a time of 10.06secs, before going ahead to win the 200m in a time of 20.51secs.
The AFN however failed to include him in the 22-man list for the competition.
Posting on Instagram, Akintola said the federation “hid under the umbrella of OCT(out of competition test)”.
He also shared images of him submitting his whereabouts to the AFN, accusing them of intentionally making him miss the World Championships.
“Sadly, I’m going to be out of world championship after I qualified for 3 events (100M,200M & 4*100M) not because I failed dope but because of politics because that’s what it looks like; they hid under the umbrella of OCT(out of competition test) meaning I didn’t submit my whereabouts or whatever(been on this since march). They already cost me a major championship (that’s the plan) and I knew they know what they doing/did. Thanks to everyone that cared and showed love, really appreciate it. Stepping stone to greater things,” he wrote.
Abba’s who just had her allegiance switch from the USA to Nigeria confirmed, said she was just informed she wouldn’t be part of the trip just 40 minutes to her flight to Oregon.
“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 athletic federation of Nigeria has failed me. the negligence and egocentric actions of the minister and other admin have once again overcome the federation which negatively affects the athletes. 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’. 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,” she wrote.