Nigeria Athletics Federation President, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Gusau is optimistic that the future is bright for the country’s athletes with the ways old records were broken in the 19th National Sports Festival.
Gusau said with five national records from different events broken at the festival there was hope that in no too distance future the country will regain her podium stand in international competitions.
According to him, the federation will ensure the momentum was maintained with its planned programmes, this, he said can also be achieved with the support of the corporate world.
Gusau who said funding was the bane of its developmental programmes, appealed to the government to create the enabling environment for the federations to thrive in their drive for funding.
Gusau noted that the attachment of the federations to the government has not in any way helped in getting direct access to the corporate world for sponsorship.
He said until the government allow the federations to be registered as a non-governmental organisations with the Corporate Affairs Commission, the corporate world will not be interested in funding the them.
He said though the festival took place after six years of delay, the athletes have proved that with adequate support, they have the potentials to make Nigeria proud.
On the part of AFN, he said they intend to have a reserviour of 10 athletes in each events to avoid any gap.
“We are monitoring our young athletes and I must confess, they are doing well at the international levels, we have a programme in place which will ensure the country appear on the podium once again in international competitions.
“This our plans will come to fruition if the government allow independence for the federation to be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
This has always been the desire of the corporate world to enable them do business with us, I just hope the government allow it and the country sports will be the better for it.
“We are also thanking the NSTF for it desire to help our athletes get well prepared for the 2020 Olympics and hopefully with such support, the federation will work round the clock to ensure the success,” Gusau said.
He further said with the constitution of the federation rectified in 2017, most of the logjam disturbing the free flow of the administration of the sports in the country will be a thing of the past.
He however commended the federal government for allowing the sports festival see the light after a long dark in the tunnel.