17th IAAF Worlds: Olatoye, Onyekwere Set To Make History For Nigeria In Women’s Shot Put, Discus

17th IAAF Worlds: Olatoye, Onyekwere Set To Make History For Nigeria In Women’s Shot Put, Discus

USA-based duo of Oyesade Olatoye and Chioma Onyekwere will be making their debut for Nigeria at the IAAF World Championship on Wednesday, a few weeks after striking gold at the All Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco.

Olatoye will be competing in the Shot Put event while Onyekwere will feature in the Discus throw with both seeking to write their names in Nigeria’s history books in different ways.

While Olatoye will be seeking to become the first Nigerian woman (and man) to make it to the final of the event, Onyekwere is seeking a double as she will be the first Nigerian woman to compete in the event at the Championship and of course be the first to make the final.

Both athletes are however not favourites to scale the hurdles as they will need to set new personal bests to make the qualification standard set by the IAAF for the event.

Olatoye will have to throw at least 18.40m, the qualification mark set for the event or hope to be among the 12 best performers on the day. She holds a personal best of 17.88m which she achieved this year.

Only one Nigerian woman, Vivian Chkwuemeka has competed in this event and she did not make it to the final on the four ocassions she made the trip to the IAAF flagship event.

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In the Discus Throw,Onyekwere will have to throw at least 63.00m,a clear2m,25cm above her personal best or also hope to be among the best 12 performers if less than 12 athletes meet the standard.

Meanwhile, quatermilers Patience Okon-George and Favour Ofili failed to make history as the second Nigerian duo to make the final of the women’s 400m 24 years after the duo of Fatima Yusuf and Falilat Ogunkoya did in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1995.Yusuf was fifth (50.70 seconds) and Ogunkoya was sixth (50.77 seconds) in the final won by France’s Marie Jose-Perec.

However 24 years later,the duo of Okon-George and Ofili failed to surmount their semi-final hurdles as they both placed sixth in their respective heats.

While Okon-George ran inside 52 seconds yet again (51.89 seconds) to crash out at the semi-final stage for the third consecutive championships,Ofili, the 17 year old University of Portharcourt undergraduate student failed to improve on the 51.51 seconds personal best she ran in the first round,running 52.58 seconds to to crash out in her debut in the championship.

For the 10th consecutive edition of the championships,no Nigerian woman will run in the final of the 400m.The last time a Nigerian woman was in the final of the event was in 2001 in Edmonton,Canada where Ogunkoya failed to complete the race in what was her fourth consecutive appearance in the final.

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