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Gatlin and Powell Could Race in African Grand Prix
LAGOS, Nigeria: Jamaica’s 100m world record holder Asafa Powell and Justin Gatlin, American World and Olympic champion, were listed as the top potential athletes to be featured at the maiden African Grand Prix scheduled for Abuja in May.
According to the Technical and Performance Director, Sunday Bada, the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) made the announcement at the National Stadium on Thursday during the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between the AFN and CSA Productions, the marketers of the event.
“We are already discussing with their managers (Powell and Gatlin) and remain hopeful that we are likely to reach favorable conclusion,” revealed Bada.
Bada, who announced that the one-day show has received the blessing of the IAAF as a scoring event in its calendar also revealed that frontline Nigerian athletes such as Deji Aliu, Uchenna Emedolu and Olusoji Fasuba would be on parade.
According to a release from Bada, the meet will act as an IAAF sanctioned Grand Prix meet and athletes are expected to compete from all over the world as points would be scored in the world ranking calendar.
Bada added that plans are now on the way to start contacting more world-rated athletes to race in Nigeria.
Among the local stars already scheduled to compete at the meet are Deji Aliu, Uchenna Emedolu and Olusoji Fasuba, who have each posted quick times in their career so far. In fact two of the three, Aliu (9.95) and Emedolu (9.97) have dipped under the 10-seconds barrier, while Fasuba has a career best time of 10.09.
President of the AFN, Violet Odogwu-Nwajei, expressed gratitude to the Confederation of African Athletics in her address at the ceremony, for choosing Abuja as one of the five cities to hold the fiesta.
“This hosting should be a strong endorsement for Nigeria‘s capacity to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games we are bidding for,” she said. “The successful hosting will also make Nigeria a worthy sports destination in the global sports map.”
Other African cities listed to host the other legs of the Grand Prix races include Pretoria, Dakar, Nairobi, Rabat and Algiers.