The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) athletics team at the ongoing National Youth Games tagged Asaba 2023 has protested over an alleged shortchange.
The athletes staged a protest to the FCT federation secretary, the organisers in Asaba, and called for the video recordings which they claimed would vindicate their claims.
Leading the protest was Sam Atepije, FCT athletics head coach, who said the team came second during the 4 x 100 race only for the officials to relegate the team to third position.
According to him, the team, with the second position automatically qualified for the final race but unfortunately, they were not assigned to run at the final race.
More injurious to the team was that while they thought their protest was being addressed, the race to decide the finalists was already ongoing, which automatically stopped them from the final.
“Even Ogun state that came third was inside the core room, wondering why the FCT team was not there. We want to see the video recording of the race.
“Could you imagine we are still expecting the result of the 100 meter race since Wednesday? Now, how do you know who will run at the final? The result was expected to be released immediately but because of an attempt to favour a particular team, it would not come immediately,” Atepije said.
The sports developer, FCT, Ademuyiwa Lawal, said the boys actually qualified at the semi final where first and second best teams and the fastest loser are selected for the finals.
He said the most annoying aspect was that you are told to pay N100,000 fee if you have a complaint, which he said was an attempt to discourage those who would want to register their grievances.
“The result should have been released immediately after the heat, till now no result. One of us for high jump came third but was removed. It was when we raised an alarm that she was replaced. That is why we rely on video evidence which may be difficult to get. The result of last Tuesday’s race is yet to be out, and the final is Saturday. How do we know those that will participate in the final?” he queried.
When contacted, chairman of the media sub-committee for the games, Mr. Moses Etu, said the allegations were not true, saying one of the athletes from FCT crossed the lane during the race, which automatically disqualified the team.
“One of them crossed from lane five to one. After, he maintained lane five again. That amounted to automatic disqualification, “ Etu stated.
Also, AFN technical director, Samuel Onikeku said in athletics, how an athlete performs in the semi-finals cannot be used as a perfect measure in determining the outcome of the final race.
The technical director said anything can happen in the finals.
“No one is a champion or winner until they cross the finishing line,” he said.
He added that the contest for medals was growing and fittingly healthy for athletics at this stage.
“The competitive spirit of young athletes should be kept high to encourage their confidence,” he said.