• Ghana, others arrive tomorrow
After moving some steps close to qualifying for Budapest 2023 World Championships in Togo on Saturday, Nigeria has taken its search for the relay tickets in the men’s 4x100m, 4x400m and women’s 4X400m to the Lagos Series, which begins this week.

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria’s (AFN) trip to the African Region 2 relay events in Lome, Togo, did not produce the needed results at the weekend and as things stand, only two of the teams, the women’s 4x100m and the mixed relay sides, have qualified for the championships. They got their tickets in the final of their events at the 18th World Championships held at Oregon, United States, last year.

In Togo, the women’s 4x400m team ran 3.29.09 seconds, the Men’s 4x400m team finished in 3.02.91 seconds, missing qualification time with micro seconds.

Before then, on Friday, Team Nigeria men’s 4x100m team ran 38.73 seconds to move closer to securing a place among the 16 countries that will participate in the event in Budapest. 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.

AFN President, Tonobok Okowa, told The Guardian shortly after the Togo event that the focus would shift to Yaba Technical College on July 14 for the Lagos Series event.

“We are already on our way to Nigeria to participate in the Lagos Series, where we hope to get the relay tickets. Ghana and Benin Republic have also confirmed participation in the Lagos Series on July 14 at Yaba Tech,” Okowa stated.

One of the athletes, who spoke with The Guardian, yesterday, described the Lagos Series as ‘mission possible.’

“We can’t afford to miss out in the relay events in Budapest. We will put all efforts into the Lagos Series on July 14,” the athlete, a sprinter, said.

At the African Region 2 relay events in Lome, the men’s quartet of Dubem Nwachukwu, Nathaniel Ezekiel, Ogazi Samuel and Chidi Okezie ran an impressive
3:02.91 seconds 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 Osunbor and Omolara Ogunmakinju ran 3:29.09 seconds to move just outside the last team in the qualification spot.

The time is not just the team’s season’s best, but also the fastest ran by a Nigerian women’s 4x400m relay team since 2018 Commonwealth Games.

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