The Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, Edo State will be a beehive of activities next week as the country’s top athletes will be attending the 2022 National trials being organized by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN.
Topping the list of athletes expected in the ancient city of Benin for the Commonwealth Games and World Athletics Championship trials are sprinter Favour Ofili, 400m Hurdles runner Nathaniel Ezekiel and Javelin thrower, Nnamdi Prosper.
These trio are National record holders in their respective events and firm favourites to claim the national titles.
Unable to compete at the recent African Championship held in Mauritius, Ofili has been in superb form so far this year, setting new national records in the 200m indoors (22.46s) and outdoor (21.96s).
The 19-year-old Ofili, a silver medalist in the 200m event at the 2022 NCAA indoor and outdoor championships is also the fastest Nigerian woman this year and will be one of the stars to watch when the championships begin.
As indicated by the Head of Media for AFN, Dare Esan, another athlete who will be the talk of the town is fast-improved hurdler, Nathaniel, who has improved greatly from a 51 seconds runner since moving to the United States.
After breaking the 50 seconds barrier at the World U20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi last year with his 49.89-second race, the youngster has continued to improve on his technics and stamina.
A few weeks ago, the 18-year-old grabbed the headlines after running 48.42s to break Henry Amike’s 35-year-old (48.50s) as well as set an African U20 record.
Nnamdi will also be in town as the reigning national record holder in the Javelin.
The 19-year-old added 14cm (81.22m) to the 81.08m national record set by Pius Bazighe in 2019 and will be looking forward to defending the national title he won last year as well as confirming his place on the plane to Oregon for the World Athletics Championships.
Long jumper Ese Brume will also be in town competing for the second time as Nigeria and African record holder in her event following her 7.17m leap in May last year in California.
Sprint hurdler Tobiloba Amusan is expected to arrive in Nigeria this weekend and the 24-year-old will be wearing two caps like Brume.
She is the reigning Nigeria and African record holder (12.42s) in the 100m hurdles.
A few days after winning the Gold medal in Mauritius, the 25-year-old on Tuesday in Finland emerged as the winner in the 100m hurdles event at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold.
Shot Putter Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, the reigning African Games and African championships champion is not just the defending Nigeria champion in the event but also the record holder (21.80m).
Triple jumper and silver medalist at the 2022 NCAA Championships, Ruth Usoro is also coming to Benin as the reigning Nigeria record holder in the event (14.50m).
African Games and African championships champion Chioma Onyekwere will be defending her national discuss title as the Nigerian record holder (63.30m).
The 2022 Nigerian Athletics Championships will serve as selection trials for next month’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, United Kingdom and the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA.
It was also gathered that the trials in Benin City will be used to select the U-20 team for the World Championship in Cali, Colombia.
The arrival date for the national trials is June 20, while departure is set for June 25.