Nigeria’s search for Budapest 2023 World Athletics Championships’ men’s 4x100m, 4x400m and women’s 4X400m relay tickets ended in failure at the African Region 2 relay events in Lome, Togo, yesterday.
Only two Nigerian relay teams, the women’s 4x100m and the mixed relay teams, have qualified for the championships after running in the final of their events at the 18th World Championships held at Oregon, United States, last year.
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) left for Togo on Thursday with the hope of sealing qualification in the remaining events, but the efforts by the athletes were not good enough.
While the women’s 4x400m team ran 3.29.09, the Men’s 4x400m team finished in 3.02.91. They both missed the qualification time with micro seconds.
The men’s quartet of Dubem Nwachukwu, Nathaniel Ezekiel, Ogazi Samuel and Chidi Okezie ran an impressive 3:02.91 to move up to 18th in the qualification ranking. The time is a season’s best for the Nigerians, and the fastest a Nigerian men’s 4x400m team has run since July 2012.
The women’s 4x400m quartet of Imaobong Nse Uko, Patience Okon-George, Queen OSsunbor and Omolara Ogunmakinju ran 3:29.09 to move just outside the last team in the qualification spot.
The time is also not just the team’s season’s best, but also the fastest by a Nigerian women’s 4x400m relay team since 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia.
Earlier on Friday, Team Nigeria men’s 4x100m team ran 38.73sec to move closer to securing a place among the 16 countries that will participate in the event in Budapest, Hungary, next month. The quartet of Udodi Onwuzurike, Ushoritse Itsekiri, Alaba Akintola and Seye Ogunlewe raced home first, and moved three places up in the qualification ranking to joint 18th with the Belgian 400 relay team.
Prior to Friday evening’s race, Team Nigeria was ranked the 21st best based on the 38.81 the team ran at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, last August. The Nigerians need to run 38.49 to stand a chance of qualifying and supplant the Australian 4x100m team who ran 38.50 in March.
AFN Technical Director, Samuel Onikeku, told The Guardian, yesterday, that the teams would take part in some other relay events to ensure qualification before the window closes later this month.