By Moses Omorogieva
With less than five weeks to go before the third Making of Champions (MoC)Grand Prix, more than 300 athletes from across Nigeria and West Africa have registered for the event scheduled for April 2-3.
MoCs founder and CEO Bambo Akani revealed the figure on their media platform, monitored by the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) on Tuesday.
Akani said the event has quickly grown into Nigeria’s largest annual track and field competition outside of national trials.
He was delighted with the number of entries received so far, saying: “We are delighted with the response from the athletes at home and abroad for this event.
“The first edition in 2018 had 400 athletes and the second in 2019, 500 athletes. With three weeks of registration still, we are on track to surpass these numbers, but these are different times due to the pandemic.
“So we will post a final list of entries to make sure we can strictly adhere to the coronavirus safety protocol. The roster will include athletes vying to qualify for the Olympics, U20 World Championships and Africa. “
Akani said the initial registration deadline of Friday March 5 has been extended to Friday March 19, stressing that no further registrations will be accepted after the final deadline.
“Several athletes from the Nigerian national team have already indicated their intention to participate, with a qualification for the Tokyo Olympics up for grabs.
“These include Commonwealth Games medalist and multiple African and National Champion, Patience Okon-George, African Games medalists Kemi Francis and Emmanuel Arowolo, and African Championships medalist Samuel Kure.
The other top Nigerian team athletes at the event are Commonwealth Games medalist and 100m national champion Joy Udo-Gabriel, African Games medalist and 400m national champion, Emmanuel Ojeli, 100m medalist. 200m national silver medalist Jerry Jakpa and 100m national silver medalist Grace Nwokocha. .
He explained that the best athletic clubs in Lagos topped the entry list, pointing out that the hosts, the MoC Track Club, will have 25 athletes, Eaglesight (20), Olapade Athletics Club (16) and Arena (14).
He also noted the entries of D’Victors (11) and Christy Athletics Club (8) in Ogun State, Akure Federal University of Technology (10) in Ondo, God’s athletic club (7 ) in Oyo, Favored Stars (5) in Delta and Coach Felix Academic & Sports Foundation (5) in Kaduna.
The founder said other established track and field teams making a return to the MoC Grand Prix include the Police Team (10), Civil Defense (8) and the African Athletics Development Center (AADC) in Port-Harcourt (3).
Akani said some state athletes would use the Grand Prix to stay tuned and prepare for the National Sports Festival, postponed to April, including Edo (15), Delta (7), Anambra (5), Akwa Ibom (3) and Cross River. (3).
He said, however, that the event would take place by invitation only and that the final list of invited athletes would be published one week before the event (by Friday March 26).
“All athletes who register outside of Nigeria, however, will be contacted for more information as soon as the MoC receives their registration for the event,” he said. (NOPE)
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