Porbeni, Ojokolo hopeful of medals as Team Nigeria jets out to Belgrade

Former Nigerian jumper, hurdler and sprinter, Seigha Porbeni, is hopeful that the crop of athletes assembled by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) for this year’s World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, are capable of doing the nation proud.

A team, which has World and Olympic long jump medallist, Ese Brume, men’s 4x400m quartet of Sikiru Adewale Adeyemi, Samson Oghenewegba Samson, Timothy Emewoghene and Ifeanyi Emmanuel Ojeli, with coach Porbeni and former sprinter, Endurance Ojokolo left Lagos, yesterday, to Belgrade via Istanbul, Turkey, for the championship.

United States-based Nigeria triple jump record holder, Ruth Usoro, is said to be on her to Team Nigeria’s camp in Belgrade alongside AFN’s Performance Director, former 400m hurdler, Victor Okorie. The Belgrade 2022 World Indoor Championship will hold from March 18 to 20.

Speaking with The Guardian, yesterday, after leading the athletes through a light exercise at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Porbeni said that the athletes were in good shape to give their counterparts from other countries good challenge in the race for medals.

“They are among the best athletes we have in the country at the moment, and I am hopeful they will give a good account of themselves in Belgrade,” Porbeni, a former Director of Sports in Delta State said.

On her part, Ojokolo, a gold medallist in the 100metres at the 2003 edition of Afro-Asia Games in India, said she was hopeful of medals in Belgrade.

Ojokolo told The Guardian from their hotel camp located in Opebi, Ikeja, shortly before the team departed for Belgrade that AFN President, Chief Tonobok Okowa, has done a lot for the nation’s athletes since he came on board last year.

Nigeria has won a total of 11 medals, made up of two gold (Sunday Bada, 400m in 1997 and Olusoji Fasuba, 60m in 2008), six silver and three bronze medals in past editions of the World Indoor Championship.(The Guardian)

•PHOTO: Team Nigeria