Nigeria’s women 4x400m quartet are the last Nigerians standing in the quest for medals, as the curtains close on the IAAF World Championships today in London.
Nigeria’s Glory Onome Nathaniel (R) hands the baton over to Nigeria’s Emerald Egwim (2L) as Germany’s Nadine Gonska (2R) hands off to Germany’s Svea Kohrbruck (L) in the heats of the women’s 4x400m relay athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV
Patience Okon-George, Yinka Ajayi, Glory Onome Nathaniel and Emerald Egwim battled hard to earn a place in the final of the event billed for later today at 8.55pm. The team ran a personal best of 3.31.97seconds to take their place amongst the finalists. Nigerian athletics enthusiasts can only pray that there is a turn of events that will favour the women in Nigeria’s search for a face-saving medal.
In the semi-final heats yesterday, USA, Jamaica and Britain clearly established themselves as top favourites for the medals at stake. Okon-George and Ajayi must have to come up with a performance below 51 seconds to guarantee a spot on the podium.
The Nigerian women 4x100m failed to appear for their race yesterday, it was another area that could have fetched Nigeria a medal. But apparently there weren’t enough sprinters to form a team. It is only Jenifer Madu and Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteg-uonor that are in London.
On Friday night Okagbare-Ighoteg-uonor who reached the women long jump final, failed to measure up in the highly competitive event, placing seventh. The long jump was the only other event apart from the women 4x400m a Nigerian athlete reached the final.
“What did you expect after the chaotic situation at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria? We weren’t prepared for the championships, but I expect the new AFN board to start looking ahead.
“We need to give them a chance and if they fail to perform, then we can push them out,” said former Nigerian sprinter, Endurance Ojokolo.