Brume’s coach, five U.S.-based athletes still battling to secure UK visas
Less than 24 hours to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, some important members of Team Nigeria’s contingent to the Games are still in Oregon, United States, battling to secure entry visas to the United Kingdom.
Some of the athletes billed to represent Nigeria at the Games travelled to the United States for the just-concluded World Championships, where Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume won gold and silver medals respectively.
However, while their opponents have already relocated to England, Ese Brume and her coach, Kayode Yahaya, are still in Oregon because the coach has not been granted a British visa.
Yet to secure the documents also are five athletes, including Favour Ashe, Godson Brume and Samson Nathaniel.
The Guardian learnt, yesterday, that world record breaker, Amusan and other athletes, will depart Oregon today for the Commonwealth Games.
MEANWHILE, the Athletics Federation Nigeria (AFN) has described as unfortunate the attitude of some Nigerians, who have taken to social media to dissipate energy on the vest sprinter Favour Ofili wore during the 4x100m relay event at the just-concluded 18th World Athletics Championships in Oregon, United States.
The letter ‘i’ was missing from the spelling of Nigeria on the vest and according to the AFN, instead of celebrating the unprecedented feats achieved by sprint hurdler, Amusan, who set a new world record en route to winning Nigeria’s first gold medal, and long jumper, Brume, who became the first Nigerian to win a medal in two straight World Championships, some people chose to deliberately paint the Federation in a bad light.
“It is really disheartening to know that a few Nigerians could shift their focus from the incredible feats our athletes performed in Oregon, which attracted commendation from President Muhammadu Buhari to a factory error made by giant sportswear and equipment company, Nike and which affected just the vest Ofili wore at the championships,” AFN Secretary General, Prince Adeniyi Adisa Beyioku, said yesterday.
Beyioku said the AFN was not distracted by the actions of the ‘idle few’ and has already shifted focus to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Also speaking on the issue, AFN’s Performance Director, Victor Okorie, explained that the wrong spelling of Nigeria on the Nike kit worn by Ofili was a factory error.
Okorie, who was Team leader in Oregon said: “Some people drew our attention to the mistake on Ofili’s kit on the final day of the 4x100m relay and I quickly reached out to Nike to know what happened. Their explanation was that it was a factory error.
“Nike said it has so much respect for Nigeria and the athletes, and there is no way it will deliberately produce a bad kit to portray Nigeria in a bad light.”
He added: “Don’t forget that Nike gave Nigeria these kits free of charge for Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championship and the World U-20 Championship in Cali, Colombia.
“You can imagine how our athletes would have looked like appearing in different kits at Oregon. The AFN board really appreciated what Nike did for us. I am sure if Ofili had noticed the error, she would have pointed it out and asked for a change. Such mistakes do happen at times, and I want Nigerians to understand the situation.”