Obeya ‘s Death Worries AFN; Gorge Regrets Loss of Talented Coach

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Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) acting president, Honourable Olamide George says the death of another veteran athletics coach, John Obeya has devastated the athletics community in Nigeria.

Coach Obeya died Tuesday in Jos, Plateau state after complaining of stomach ache. He was aged 65.

“This is a very sad day for track and field in Nigeria. When we are still mourning the untimely passing of coach Tobias Igwe, another blow has been dealt our dear sport with the report of coach Obeya’s death in Jos,” said George in a statement.

“Coach Obeya complained of a stomach problem on Monday and was taken to an undisclosed hospital in Jos where he was operated upon, but sadly he didn’t survive,” said George who lamented Nigeria has lost one of her most talented track and field coaches.

Until his death, Obeya was a sprints coach with the Bahrain Athletics Association and was instrumental to the recruitment of reigning world 400m champion, Salwa Eid Naser (formerly Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu) by Bahrain in 2014.

He trained Eid Naser to win the 400m gold at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Athletics in Cali, Colombia and silver at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.

Although Eid Naser struck gold at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha,Qatar under another coach, Dominican Jose Ludwig Rubio, it was Obeya that laid the foundation for her incredible feats in the women’s quartermile where she ran 48.14 seconds, the third fastest time of all time behind (East) Germany’s Marita Koch (47.60 seconds in 1985) and Czech’s Jarmila Kratochvilova (47.99 in 1983).

“Like coach Tobias Igwe, coach Obeya was also in the Nigeria team to the first IAAF World Junior Championships in Athens, Greece in 1986 where he took charge of especially the two jumpers in the team, Beatrice Utondu and Caroline Nwajei and has produced so many top stars for Nigeria. It is on record that he trained Tina Ozoro to the first national triple jump record and top jumper, Chinedu Odozor and Samuel Onikeku,” George further stated.

The AFN acting president says the federation will send a condolence message to the family of coach Obeya and prays that God grants the family the fortitude to bear this great and monumental loss.

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World championship ‘crotch cams’ rolled back after athletes’ complaints

Television viewers have been taken closer to the action than ever before at the world championships and it is a little too close for some athletes

Athletics

With cameras in the starting blocks peering up the legs of athletes into their eyes, television viewers have been taken closer to the action than ever before at the world championships and it is a little too close for some athletes.

Im not too keen about it because its kind of invading my private space in a sense, said South Africas Akani Simbine, who finished fourth in the mens 100m final. Being in the blocks is one of the athletes sacred spaces and thats the point where you just want to be alone and be free. You have a camera in your face and you dont really want to have a camera in your face.

Justin Gatlin, who won silver in the 100m, made his own preparations for the camera angle. I made sure I had my lucky underwear on, said the American.

For others, the perceived invasion of privacy was not a laughing matter. The backlash against the intrusive angles started as soon as athletes received images from the crotch cams.

My friends told me the pictures werent very flattering, said Britains Dina Asher-Smith, who made history on Wednesday when she won gold in the 200m.

An official complaint came from the German track and field federation. It led to the competition organizers rolling back the use of the cameras that were introduced in Doha as part of a push to attract new viewers. Theyve also introduced pre-race dimming of the lights and graphics being projected on the track, updates that have received a mixed reaction.

We have noted some specific feedback about the block cameras and we have confirmed we have appropriate measures in place to protect athlete privacy during the process of selecting images for broadcast, the IAAF said in a statement. We also have strict editorial guidelines for what is broadcast and these have been observed since the beginning of the championships.

Rob Harris (@RobHarris)

Have you seen the crotch cameras on starting blocks at #WorldAthleticsChampionships?
Some athletes found the innovation too intrusive, so the angles have been adjusted by the IAAF after complaints.
From Doha:https://t.co/rXHKV4FD54 pic.twitter.com/7o2TEGsEmT

October 2, 2019

The IAAF installed the two miniature cameras in the starting blocks to capture what it called the explosion of energy from athletes who were only previously seen from above or the side of their heads. Not all competitors objected to the unfamiliar angles.

Its pretty cool for the fan base they get to see us in the blocks, said Canadas Andre De Grasse, who won bronze in the 100m. But you cant get distracted by it. Youve just got to focus on your race and not look too much toward the camera.

The British sprinter Zharnel Hughes welcomed the IAAF innovating but not the execution of the technology.

Sometimes you hear the camera inside the blocks, he said. Its a cool feature but its a bit scary at the same time because its looking up your nose. You arent looking at it. You know its there because when you are set on your blocks you hear it.

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