Athletes have commended the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) for beginning the 2017/2018 season with the annual All-Comers competition in November, saying it would enhance preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and other international tournaments.
The athletes expressed their gratitude to AFN on Saturday while speaking in Abuja on the new season beginning earlier than those of most countries.
The two-day All-Comers championship used to hold in January each year and followed by other national competitions until the 2017/2018 edition holding on Friday and Saturday.
According to them, more rooms for competition will help in bringing out the best from athletes.
Adebola Kabiril, a decathlete from Nigeria Peace Corps, expressed appreciation to the AFN for beginning the season early.
“This edition is better because it is coming earlier than it used to, which is better for athletes to prepare for competitions.
“The new board of AFN is proving its determination to bring more glory to the nation through athletics.
“The All-Comers event prepares athletes for Commonwealth Games and other international competitions. I believe it will have a positive effect in our participation in international events next year,’’ he said.
Similarly, Grace Ayemoba, a 100m flat and 100m hurdle athlete with Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said she was happy with the development.
“Organising the All-Comers in November is an innovation that will give athletes more room to get in shape ahead of international competitions in 2018 and beyond.
“It is a welcome development that will help athletes to be more focused and compete better with their counterparts around the world, AFN should keep it up,’’ she said.
Also Rosemary Chukwuma, Nigeria’s 100m international athlete from Kids N’Play Foundation, Abuja, also commended the timing of the season.
“I am glad for this year’s All-Comers, I will ensure it gives me the opportunity to get shortlisted for other events that will qualify me for the Commonwealth Games and hopefully, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan,’’ she said.
Over 200 male and female athletes registered to compete for different categories of track and field events.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held in Gold Coast, Australia between April 4 and April 15.