SportsNigeria Dominates CAA Region II Championship, Sets Sight on Paris 2024

Nigeria Dominates CAA Region II Championship, Sets Sight on Paris 2024

June 10, (THEWILL)- Nigeria emerged as the undisputed champions at the 2024 Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Region II Senior Athletics Championship, held from June 4 to 5 at the University of Ghana Sports Stadium in Accra.

The Nigerian contingent claimed an impressive haul of 13 gold medals, four silver, and one bronze, cementing their dominance in the region.

The CAA Region II Championship is a prestigious biennial event that serves as a qualifier for the Olympic Games. It has its origins in the division of the Confederation of African Athletics into six regions, with Region II comprising countries from West and Central Africa. The event provides a platform for athletes from this region to apply their talents and compete for coveted spots in the upcoming Olympic Games.

This year’s championship witnessed the crème de la crème of athletics from 10 countries: Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte D’Ivoire, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

Notably absent were Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Niger, who opted not to participate.

The two-day event featured a wide range of track and field events, including hurdles, sprints, distance races and relays, providing a comprehensive test of the athletes’ abilities and endurance.

The host nation, Ghana, earned a respectable second place with eight gold, nine silver and six bronze medals, while Burkina Faso rounded out the top three with five gold, six silver and four bronze medals. Togo finished fourth with third gold, two silver, and three bronze medals, followed by Mali in fifth place with two gold, one silver and two bronze medals. Senegal secured seventh place with one gold, four silver and six bronze medals.

One of the highlights of the championship was the women’s mixed 4x400m relay, where the Nigerian quartet outpaced their closest rivals, Ghana, to claim the gold medal in a heart-stopping finish. The relay event demonstrated the team’s exceptional teamwork, determination and athletic prowess, leaving the home crowd in awe.

Another standout performance came from Nigeria’s emerging javelin thrower, Samuel Adams Kure, who captivated spectators with his impressive throw of 70.23m, claiming the gold medal. Kure’s confident declaration, “There is more in the tank,” hinted at his potential for even greater achievements in the future, making him one to watch on the international stage.

The President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Chief Tonobok Okowa, who also serves as the President of Africa Zone II Athletics, commended the athletes for their outstanding performance. He expressed his elation and pride in the young Nigerian athletes, assuring them of the Federation’s continued support and encouragement to enable their success.

“Nigeria’s athletics will offer more to the world if encouragement comes from all and sundry to assist these athletes. I am elated and proud of our young athletes and we, as a Federation, will continue to try our best to encourage them to enable them to succeed.”

AFN Technical Director Samuel Onikeku, former president, Chief Solomon Ogba, and AFN board member representing the South West Zone, Dr Solomon Alao, echoed Okowa’s sentiments, praising the athletes’ skills and achievements in Ghana. They extolled the performance of the athletes and assured them of the Federation’s continuous assistance and support, stating that their future is brighter than they think.

The success of the Nigerian contingent at the CAA Region II Seniors Athletics Championship is also a testament to the dedication and hard work of the athletes, as well as the support and guidance provided by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria. This victory serves as a stepping stone towards greater accomplishments on the global stage, as the athletes prepare for the upcoming Africa Seniors Athletics Championships in Douala, Cameroon, and ultimately, the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Team Nigeria’s contingent to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France, will commence local camping on Saturday, June 1, in five centres – Abuja, Lagos, and Bayelsa States as preparation for the Games hits top gear. The Paris Olympic Games will be held from July 26 to August 11. This was disclosed at the ministerial strategic technical meeting between the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Enoh, and presidents, secretaries, and technical directors of the national sports Federations held at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

Addressing critical stakeholders concerning Team Nigeria’s preparation and participation at the Games, Senator Enoh urged Federation presidents to strive for a superior performance compared to the previous outing in Atlanta, saying there is a need for Nigeria to surpass the feat achieved at the 1996 Olympics at the upcoming 2024 edition in Paris.

He said the meeting aimed at preparing Team Nigeria for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, was to map out a comprehensive roadmap and technical training programmes. These plans, he said, will be meticulously analysed by the Federation and Elite Athletes Department (FEAD) and the Ministerial Podium Performance Committee to ensure that Team Nigeria is on the right path to winning medals.

“Surpassing our best Olympic performance is a goal that we should aim to meet. We must build on our past successes and strive for excellence in Paris 2024,” the minister said.

The minister emphasised that both domestic and international preparations are crucial for the success of Team Nigeria. “The combination of domestic camping and foreign training tours is essential. It ensures our athletes are well-prepared and ready to compete at the highest level,” he added.

While local camping will officially open this weekend in Abuja, Lagos, Bayelsa, and Ibadan, foreign training tours will take place thereafter with the US, Germany, Spain and Italy, among top destinations pencilled down.

So far, no fewer than 88 Nigerian athletes have qualified for the Olympics, as many others are still in the qualification process.

As the Nigerian contingent returns home from their triumph at the CAA Region II Championship, they will face another crucial test in the form of the National Trials in Benin-City, which will determine the composition of the team for the African Championships and the Olympic Games.

With the momentum of their recent triumph, the unwavering support of the AFN, and a comprehensive preparation plan in place, the Nigerian athletes are poised to continue their remarkable journey towards Paris 2024.

About the Author

Jude Obafemi

Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.

Jude Obafemi, THEWILL
Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.

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