Six African Games and African Athletics Championship champions are due to compete in Benin next week for tickets to next month’s World Athletics Championship in Oregon, USA, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.
Oludare Esan, the media head for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, disclosed that the reigning African champions will be led by Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, the African Games and African Championship gold medalist and competitions record holder.
“Raymond Ekevwo who won the 100m gold at the African Games in 2019 in Rabat is also confirmed and will be battling not just for the ticket but also his first national title in the blue ribband event,” said Esan.
Continuing, Esan says Olympic, World, and Commonwealth Games medalist and reigning African Games long jump queen, Ese Brume, will be in Benin as she seeks her fifth national title and a ticket to Oregon, where she hopes to become the first Nigerian woman to win two World Championship individual medals in two editions.
“Tobi Amusan who won the 100m hurdles title last week in Mauritius (at the African Athletics Championship) will also be around to defend the sprint hurdles title she won at the Yaba College of Technology, Yaba last year.
“Amusan is also the reigning African Games champion and record holder. Others are Oyesade Olatoye, the African Games shot put champion who won a historic hammer gold for Nigeria at the 22nd African Championship last week in Mauritius.”
According to the AFN media chief, Chioma Onyekwere, the defending African Games and African Championship discus champion, will attend the Commonwealth Games and World Championship trials in Benin.
Onyekwere set a new 59.91m Games record to win the African Games gold in 2019.
Triple jumper Grace Anigbata and javelin thrower Kelechi Nwanaga are two more African Games champions who have yet to be confirmed for the Benin championship.
“Both have met the qualification standard for the Commonwealth Games and World Championship trials and we will know before the end of the week if they will be flying in from the USA for the championship,” said Esan.
The Nigeria championships, which also double as Commonwealth Games and World Championship trials, will be held in the main bowl of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, the Edo state capital, from June 21 to June 23.