Organisers clarify Ijebu Sprints/Relays Hurdles no show

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Former Nigerian sprinter, Abiola Onakoya, has explained that hurdles race wasn’t included in both boys’ and girls’ event at the just concluded second edition of the Abiola/Amusan Ijebu Sprints and Relays due to the technicalities of the race, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Onakoya and current world record holder in the women’s 100m hurdles, Tobi Amusan, who both hail from Ijebu-Ode and also attended the University of Texas, EL Passo, organised the event as a way of inspiring the next generation of athletes in the country.

The two-day athletics meet which was held at the Otunba Dipo Dina Stadium in Ijebu Ode last Friday and Saturday featured 468 athletes in 100m, 400m, 4x100m as well as 4x400m relays.

Before the event, athletics enthusiasts questioned the omission of the hurdles event, which was Amusan’s specialty from the competition but Onakoya, believes there is the need to introduce young athletes to its training equipment before bringing them into competitions.

“One of the big reasons we cannot have hurdles is because of the technicalities. You don’t want someone who has not practiced with hurdles before to come and try to compete so we are trying to avoid injuries for these young athletes,” the former gold medallist told our correspondent.

“As a matter of fact, Tobi herself did not start as a hurdler, but she ventured into it and today she is a world record holder. It took a lot of training for her to adjust to the technicalities and we can have many kids like that as soon as we begin to invest in facilities. So, we hope our schools and stadiums will start having facilities so that we can start introducing these kids gradually.”

Meanwhile, athletes and coaches who attended the two-day meet are still relishing the moments the competition afforded them.

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