By Dare Esan:
President of the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba is in the running for one of the nine individual IAAF Council member seats when elections come up on the first day of the 50th IAAF Congress scheduled to be held in Beijing, China on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 August 2015, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Ogba's name was among the 39 listed by the IAAF in its official newsletter released Tuesday in Monaco as contestants in the elections.
The former Delta state Sports Commission boss however has a tough battle to confront as he faces such credible, famous Olympians as Namibia's Frankie Fredericks (double sprints silver medallists at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta; Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco who won the 400m hurdles gold at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Others are Bahama's Pauline Davis-Thompson, Abby Hoffman of Canada, Alberto
Juantorena Danger of Portugal, Kenya's Isaiah Kiplagat, Momar Mbaye and Theophile Montcho of Senegal and Benin Republic respectively, as well as Irena Szewinska of Poland – amongst other heavyweights former track and field internationals.
Also in the running for a seat in the IAAF Technical Committee is Navy Officer Omatseye Nesiama, the technical committee head of the AFN.
Omatseye, a newcomer into athletics administration who never participated in the sport as an athlete or a coach is surprisingly proposed as a candidate while knowledgeable ex-internationals like Yusuf Ali (arguably Nigeria's greatest long jumper of all time),Tony Osheku (arguably the most successful coach Nigeria has ever produced), Falilat Ogunkoya (one of Nigeria's greatest athletes of all time), Rotimi Obajimi (unarguably Nigeria's Mr Athletics) and Innocent Egbunike, the reigning Nigeria 400m record holder were not considered by the AFN as possible candidates.
Former General Secretary of the AFN,nMaria Worphil is also in the race to become the chairperson of the IAAF Women's Committee.
Worphil, adjudged one of the most successful accounting officers the AFN has ever had is currently a member of the committee. She is also vying for a return as a member if she fails to clinch the ultimate ticket in Beijing.