A member of Team Nigeria’s contingent to the just concluded African U-18/ U-20 Athletics Championships in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, former jumper, hurdler and sprinter, Seigha Porbeni says the trip was a ‘big sacrifice’ to Nigerian athletics.
The contingent, which had 85 athletes and about 15 coaches, spent three days on the road trip to Abidjan, and also spent the same number of days on its way back home following the sports ministry’s failure to provide the necessary funds. The team arrived Nigeria in the early hours of Tuesday with 13 gold medals, after finishing third on the medals table behind South Africa and Kenya.
Speaking with The Guardian shortly on arrival, Porbeni said Nigeria gained a lot from the trip to Abidjan. He said: “It was sad we left Nigeria for Abidjan without a kobo, but I must commend officials of the AFN, and the governments of Delta and Lagos states for providing some logistics for the team.
“Majority of our athletes must have gained a lot of exposure from the trip because it was the first time some of them traveled outside Nigeria. We finished third behind South Africa and Kenya in the overall medals table, but for us, it was more than the result. Exposure means a lot for young athletes, and that was our major gain from the trip to Abidjan,” Porbeni, an ex-Director of sports in Delta State stated.
The Guardian recalls that the competition, which was held between April 16 and 20, saw the Nigerians winning five medals in the short sprints alone, with Enoch Adegoke grabbing the men’s 100m gold, with an impressive Season’s Best (SB) of 10.27s, while Rosemary Chukwuma got the gold in the women’s 100m. She also set a Season’s Best of 11.62s.