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Ex-British Jumper Edwards Insists: IAAF Must Let Me Compete For Nigeria At C’Wealth Games

Ex-British Jumper Edwards Insists: IAAF Must Let Me Compete For Nigeria At C’Wealth Games

Former British high jumper Mike Edwards has continued his protest to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) over their decision to stop him from representing Nigeria at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

This year’s Commonwealth Games will start on April 4 and end on April 15.

Edwards arrived on the Gold Coast as part of the Nigerian team but is ineligible to compete because he represented Britain at the European Junior Championships in 2009.

And the 27-year-old who was born in Manchester but has a Nigerian mother and citizenship, has protested against the IAAF decision with a home-made sign in the athletes’ village, according to the BBC.

“It was nine years ago – it is a worse sentence that a drug cheat gets,” Edwards told BBC Sport.

“I am walking around the village with my Nigerian kit and unsure if I can even walk in the stadium and represent.

“It is nearly a decade since I last competed in an international championship, I feel I am being robbed of that opportunity right in front of my eyes.

“I am willing to protest every day in the village. I will do it until I receive a call from [IAAF president] Seb Coe. If he can’t do that he is a coward.

“As a fellow athlete, he can’t hide behind his desk – that is heartless.”

The process for switching nations was stopped in February 2017 with the IAAF citing concerns over the exploitation of young African athletes, and has not resumed.

The IAAF claim, however, that the Athletics Federation of Nigeria only got in contact on Friday, emailing the governing body a copy of Edwards’ Nigerian passport with no further message.

It insists that he would not be able to jump for Nigeria regardless, the BBC further reported.

“The transfer of allegiance is still frozen in cases where an athlete has represented an IAAF member federation in international competition,” read a statement.

“Given these circumstances, under current IAAF rules, he is not eligible to represent another country.”

With the start of the high jump competition a little over a week away, Edwards believes his case deserves an urgent and sympathetic hearing.

“I knew there was more significance behind representing Nigeria – they have not had a male high jumper at the Commonwealth Games in 50 years,” he added.

“Representing England? They are taking three guys, they don’t need me.

“I can’t look back at this opportunity and say I passed it up to be another number.”

Edwards told the BBC that he has made “countless” personal calls to the IAAF to try and gain permission to compete for Nigeria.

“I should not be penalised as an adult for a decision that I made as a juvenile,” he said.

“My competitors are not the guys on the field now, they are the federation.

“Just to compete would be a gold medal for me.”

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 3
  • Arnold 8 months ago

    See his head. Who sent him before to represent the British. I even like it that they denied him this privilege to compete for Nigeria at the commonwealth games. That what they do.

  • Victor Onyeanum 8 months ago

    “Representing England?…, they don’t need me”. Those were his exact words. This is an indication that if England needed him, he wouldn’t aspire to represent Nigeria, he would have opted for England as he did before. We need the gold medal in high jump at the C W Games but not at all costs. Are we even sure he would have given us any medal given the fact that he has not taken part in any international competition since 2009? Let him lick his wounds. I think he deserves what he has got. The only thing that gives me worry is that Nigeria is not the one rejecting him. The IAAF is the one stopping him. Good riddance to “bad” rubbish.

  • Bekee 8 months ago

    I hope others are learning from this. No place like home.