Unless urgent steps are taken, Nigerian contingent to the 2019 IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan may be forced to abandon the trip.
The event will hold between May 11 and 12, but the 11 Nigerian athletes and officials penciled down for the trip were denied visas by the Japanese Embassy yesterday.
The Technical Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Sunday Adeleye told The Guardian yesterday that the Japanese Embassy was frustrating their efforts in making the trip to Yokohama.
“We submitted our applications for visas last week, and we met their requirements. We were supposed to pick up our visas today (yesterday), but the embassy denied us the document. This is frustrating to us. If we failed to make it to Yokohama, then our athletes won’t be able to secure their lane ahead the World Athletics Championships coming up in Doha. We have prepared 11 home-based athletes for this trip to Japan.”
The Guardian learnt that the Nigerian team is originally scheduled to depart tomorrow with 11 athletes, one coach and three AFN officials.
Some of the athletes who spoke with The Guardian yesterday pleaded with the Japanese Embassy not to frustrate the efforts they have made ahead of the competition in Yokohama.
The 2019 IAAF World Relays in Yokohama has additional two new events, both mixed events. They are the 2 × 2 × 400m relay and the shuttle hurdles relay. The first event replaces the 4 × 800m relay that featured at previous events.