September 25, 2022

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Abba blames Dare, AFN after World Championships exclusion

Nigerian athlete Ezinne Abba has spoken out against what she described as her “unfair exclusion” from the 2022 World Championships in Oregon, United States.

The global event starts Friday.

Abba alleged that she was dropped from the team just 40 minutes before she should have boarded her flight to Oregon for the championships.

The 21-year-old took to Instagram to express her anger following her exclusion after only just completing her switch from the United States to Nigeria.

She also blamed the sports minister Sunday Dare and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria for her omission.

“It has always been my dream to compete for Nigeria on the world stage, but despite reaching the world standard, flying to Nigeria alone, switching my allegiance from the US and mentally, physically preparing myself after my first ever hamstring strain, the Athletic Federation of Nigeria failed me,” Abba wrote.

“The negligence and egocentric actions of the minister and other administrators have once again overcome the federation, which negatively affects the athletes.

“Why am I being told 40 minutes before my flight to Oregon, the week of competition, that I’m no longer competing because of their wrongdoings and irrational fear?

“I have already passed 2/3 drug tests, but for some reason, I am not allowed to do my third test because of ‘fear of failure.’

“They speak repeatedly about trying to fix the broken system that is Nigerian athletics by firing and hiring all new staff, but the corruption still lives.

“Unfortunately, I will not be competing at the World Championships or the Commonwealth Games,” she added.

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Also, Tennessee-based sprinter, Alaba Akintola, took to Instagram to express his disappointment as well.

“Sadly, I’m going to be out of the World Championships in Oregon after I qualified for three events (100m, 200m and the 4x100mn) not because I failed dope but because of politics because that’s what it looks like.

“They hid under the umbrella of OCT (out of competition test), meaning I didn’t submit my whereabouts or whatever (I’ve been on this since March).

“They already cost me a major championship, that’s their plan and I knew they knew what they did. Thanks to everyone that cared and showed love, I really appreciate it. Stepping stone to greater things”

Meanwhile, the AFN Secretary-General, Adisa Beyioku, described the athletes’ online outbursts as unfortunate.
Beyioku stated that Ezine’s omission was due to her failure to compete in any individual event at the Nigerian trials in Benin City last month.

“Miss Abba did not compete in any individual event at the Nigerian Championships in Benin City, which was used as selection trials for both the World Athletics Championships and the Commonwealth Games,” Beyioku said in a statement.

“This means her selection will no longer be on merit, but at the discretion of the AFN.

“Abba has not also completed the mandatory three out of competition tests for the championships as she was not under the radar of the Nigerian anti-doping agency until recently when her change of allegiance from the United States of America to Nigeria was granted by World Athletics.”
He added that the federation would refer Abba to its Disciplinary Committee for necessary action after her outburst.

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“She should have known her selection is not automatic and must explain why she chose to publicly drag the name of the AFN and the Sports Minister in an inappropriate manner. The AFN will not condone any misguided outburst from any athlete,” he added.