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World Championships: AFN flays Ezinne Abba’s outburst over exclusion

World Championships: AFN flays Ezinne Abba’s outburst over exclusion

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has reacted to the outburst of one of its athletes, Ezinne Abba, who made damming accusations about her exclusion from Team Nigeria to the World Championships starting Friday in Oregon, United States.

PREMIUM TIMES reported Ms Abba’s frustration as the 21-year-old alleged she was only told of her exclusion from the World Championships 40 minutes before her flight to Oregon.

According to the University of California, Berkeley graduate, the AFN and the minister were culpable for her shattered dream of representing Nigeria on the global stage after only just completing the switch of her allegiance from the United States to Nigeria.

“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,” she wrote on her social media accounts.

However, the AFN Secretary General, Adisa Adeniyi Beyioku, said Abba should know she cannot force herself into the team after failing to compete in any individual event at the Nigerian Championships in Benin City last month.

“Miss Abba did not compete in any individual event at the Nigerian Championships in Benin City, which was used as selection trials for both the World Athletics Championships and the Commonwealth Games.

“This means her selection will no longer be on merit but at the discretion of the AFN,” said Beyioku in a statement on Wednesday.

The AFN secretary-general reiterated the stand of the federation that athletes who did not come at all for the trials or did not compete for whatever reasons no longer have automatic tickets to represent the country either at the World Athletics Championships or the Commonwealth Games.

Other Concerns

The AFN scribe continued: “Miss Abba has not also completed the mandatory three out of competition tests for the championships as she was not under the radar of the Nigerian anti-doping agency until recently when her change of allegiance from the United States of America to Nigeria was granted by World Athletics.

“The AFN is appalled that Miss Abba has dragged the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Chief Sunday Dare, into a matter that is 100% at the discretion of the AFN.

“The Sports Ministry does not interfere in the running of the Federation.”

Beyioku hinted at the possibility of Abba being sanctioned if the athlete is referred to the federation’s disciplinary committee for her outbursts.

“She should have known her selection is not automatic and must explain why she chose to publicly drag the name of the AFN and the Sports Minister in an inappropriate manner,” the AFN scribe concluded.

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