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Confusion As Nigerian Athlete Disappears From Common Wealth Game Camp To Represent Another Country

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The Athletics Federation of Nigeria has said it has reported the alleged disappearance of national athlete Bamidele Emmanuel from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games camp in Port Harcourt to IAAF.

Emmanuel, who took part in the Commonwealth Games Trials in Abuja and ran 45.28secs in the men’s 400m, was named in the 37-man squad for Gold Coast 2018 Games in Australia.

Reports claimed on Saturday that Emmanuel had left camp in a bid to allegedly represent another country.

His coach Ishola Oladipupo, who is one of the coaches in camp, wrote on Facebook on Monday. “I can confirm that Nigerian 400m champion Emmanuel Bamidele is missing from camp but I know nothing about his disappearance as I was also surprised at the occurrence of such. I am surprised that people could say that have sold the athlete to Qatar.”

AFN technical director Sunday Adeleye, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone on Monday, confirmed that the athlete was missing from camp.

The IAAF in 2017 froze the transfer of allegiance by athletes from one country to the other till one of its committees could come up with a new law to govern the process, which the IAAF says is affecting African countries more.

Adeleye said, “It is true that Emmanuel is missing in camp, because we have not been able to trace his whereabouts for some days now. But we don’t want to believe that he is making a move to switch to another country as we heard.

“The AFN has reported the development to IAAF for them to halt any move by any country to poach our athletes based on the existing rule. The AFN believes that Emmanuel will return to camp and continue his training for the Games, because if he truly wants to switch his allegiance to another country, IAAF will not allow it and it will have a negative effect on his career.

“We cannot invest in an athlete and a country from nowhere will come and reap where they did not sow. We are waiting for IAAF’s response to the letter we wrote them but we hope Emmanuel will return before then because those who advised him to do such are ignorant of the rules governing the transfer of allegiance under the IAAF.”

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