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18th World Athletics Championships: Olatoye, 4x400m Mixed Relay Team To Open Team Nigeria’s Bid For Medal

18th World Athletics Championships: Olatoye, 4x400m Mixed Relay Team To Open Team Nigeria’s Bid For Medal

Hammer thrower Oyesade Olatoye and the 4x400m mixed relay team will open Team Nigeria’s bid for podium appearances when the 18th World Athletics Championships begin today [Friday ] at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA.

Olatoye, drawn in group A of the qualifiers for the final will be making history as the first Nigerian, man or woman to compete in the Hammer throw event in the championships.

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Last month in Mauritius, the 25 year old won the Hammer throw title at the African Athletics Championships to become the first Nigerian woman to emerge African champion in the history of the championships.

Olatoye will however need a miracle to progress further in the event as she is lined up against athletes who have been throwing over 70m consistently including Janee’ Kassanavoid of the USA who is third on the world list so far this year with her 78.00m throw in May and Canada’s Camryn Rogers who is not far behind with the 77.67m personal best she incidentally threw at the Hayward Field last month. She is fourth in the top list for 2022.

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The Nigerian’s 65.74m personal season’s best will definitely not get her over the line and will need to throw a huge personal best of at least 73.50m which is the automatic qualification mark or be among the 12 best throwers from the two qualifying groups.

For the 4x400m team of Patience Okon-George, Imaobong Nse Uko, Sikiru Adeyemi, Dubem Amene and Nathaniel Samson, the World Championships presents another big stage to make history as the first mixed relay team to make the final of a global event after debutting at the Tokyo Olympics last year, exiting in the first round.

The team has been drawn in heat 1 of two first round heats and will run from lane three, sandwiched between Poland, the reigning Olympic champion in lane two and USA, bronze medal winner in Tokyo in lane four.

Three teams will qualify automatically from the heat for the final while two others with fastest losing times will join. The final will be held later Friday evening. The Nigerian team set a new 3:13.60 African in Tokyo last year.

Later Friday evening, the heats for the men’s 100m will hold with Favour Ashe, the reigning fastest man in Nigeria scheduled to run. Also expected to be in the line up will be reigning World U20 Champion, Udodi Onwuzurike.

The duo will be aiming to return Nigeria to the final of the blue ribband event 15 years after Olusoji Fasuba ran in the final in Osaka, Japan.

Also Friday evening, the duo of Chukwuebuka Enekwechi and Dotun Ogundeji will begin their quest for places in the final of the Shot Put event.
Enekwechi, the reigning Nigeria and African shot put king has been drawn in group A while Ogundeji will compete in group B and both will be seeking to hit the 21.20m automatic qualifying mark or be among the 12 best to qualify for the final.

Enekwechi only needs to repeat the mark that gave him his second straight African title in Mauritius last month to make his second straight final while Ogundeji, who is making his first appearance at the championships will need to throw way beyong the 21.05m personal best he set in 2019 to be quaranteed of a final appearance.

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Nigeria will also be hoping to win more than the one medal Ese Brume won three years ago in Doha, Qatar. The last time the country won two medals was in 2013 in Moscow, Russia where Blessing Okagbare leapt to a silver medal in the long jump and a bronze medal in the 200m.

The country will also be seeking a first ever gold medal in the championships and will be relying on Brume, the only Nigerian still competing who has won medals at the World indoor and outdoor championships and at the Olympics as well as sprint hurdler, Tobiloba Amusan who has a 50-50 chance of not just making the podium this time around after two fourth placed finishes in Doha in 2019 and at the Olympics last year but also win the gold.

The petite 25 year old set a new 12.41 seconds personal best and African record just last month and the Nigerian knows she needs to win a world title to be able to stake a claim to being one of the greatest sprinters in the world.

NIGERIAN MEDALLISTS AT THE CHAMPIONSHIPS

MEN

Silver:
Innocent Egbunike 400m: 1987
Olapade Adeniken 4x100mR: 1997
Davidson Ezinwa 4x100mR: 1997
Osmond Ezinwa 4x100mR: 1997
Francis Obikwelu 200m:1997

Bronze:
Kunle Adejuyigbe 4x400mR:1995
Sunday Bada 4x400mR: 1995
Udeme Ekpeyong 4x400mR: 1995
Jude Monye 4x400mR: 1995
Ajayi Agbebaku TJ: 1983
Francis Obikwelu 200m: 1999

WOMEN

Silver:
Glory Alozie 100mH: 1999
Blessing Okagbare LJ: 2013

Bronze:
Ese Brume LJ: 2019
Blessing Okagbare 200m: 201

BEST POSITION ACHIEVED BY TEAM NIGERIA ATHLETES

MEN

100m: 4th: Olusoji Fasuba (10.07) 2007
200m: 3rd: Francis Obikwelu (20.11) 1999
400m:2nd: Innocent Egbunike (44.56) 1987
800m: 6th,ht1:Edose Ibadin (1:46.51) 2017
110mH: 5th, semis: William Erese (13.70) 2003

400mH: 6th: Henry Amike (48.63) 1987
High Jump: 20q: Anthony Idiata (2.20) 1999
Long Jump: 8th: Yusuf Alli (7.89) 1983
Triple Jump: 3rd: Ajayi Agbebaku (17.18) 1983
Shot Put: 8th:Chuk Enekwechi (21.18) 2019
Discus: 6th: Adewale Olukoju (63.66) 1995
Javelin: 34q: Pius Bazighe (69.64) 1997
4x100m: 2nd: (38.07) 1997
4x400m: 3rd: (3:03.18) 1995

WOMEN

100m: 5th: Mary Onyali (11.05) 1993
5th:Blessing Okagbare (11.12) 2011
200m: 3rd: Blessing Okagbare (22.32) 2013
400m: 4th: Falilat Ogunkoya (50.03) 1999
100mH: 2nd: Glory Alozie (12.44) 1999
400mH: 5th,Semis: Omolade Akinremi (57.07) 1995
5th, Semis: Ajoke Odumusu (56.41) 2011
High Jump: 8th Doreen Amata (1.93) 2011
Long Jump: 2nd: Blessing Okagbare (6.99) 2013
Triple Jump: 24q Chinonye Ohadugha (13.32) 2007
Shot Put: 15q:Vivian Chukwuemeka (17.50) 2005
Discus: 13q:Chioma Onyekwere (61.380 2019
Heptathlon: 18th:Naomi Osazuwa (5951) 2015
4x100m: 4th: (42.77) 1991
4th: (42.52) 2001
4x400m: 5th: (3:24.45) 1991
5th: (3:28.55) 2009
5th: (3:27.57) 2013
5th: (3:26.72) 2017

Team Nigeria To World Athletics Championships, Oregon 2022

WOMEN

Favour OFILI
Age: 19 (31 DEC 2002)
Event(s):100m, 200m, 4x100m
PB/SB:10.93, 21.96
WCH Appearance(s): 1
Best WCH Position: 400m Semifinal
Best WCH Performance: 51.51s in First Round
Ofili made her World Championships debut in 2019 in Doha. The highlight of her debut was the 51.51 seconds then personal best she ran in the first round of the 400m event. She made it all the way to the semis. She was also a member of the 4x400m relay team that 3:35.90 to place eighth in the first round.

Rosemary CHUKWUMA
Age: 20 (05 DEC 2001)
Event(s):100m, 200m, 4x100m
PB/SB:10.99, 22.33
WCH Appearance(s): 1
Best WCH Position:
Best WCH Performance: 4X100m
Fresh from her African U20 conquest in the 100m and 200m events, then 17 year old Rosemary made the 4x100m relay team that ran 43.05 to place sixth in the second heat of the first round.

Nzubechi Grace NWOKOCHA
Age: 21 (07 APR 2001)
Event(s):100m, 200m, 4x100m
PB/SB:10.97, 22.44
WCH Appearance(s): Debut
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance: None
Tokyo Olympics double sprint semifinalist and reigning Nigeria 100m champion, Grace will be hoping to go beyond her performance at the Olympics where, on her debut she made it all the way to the semifinal, setting new (then) personal best of 11.00 in the 100m and 22.47.

Imaobong Nse UKO
Age: 18 (20 FEB 2004)
Event(s):400m, Mixed Relay
PB/SB:51.24
WCH Appearance(s): Debut
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance: None
Reigning World U20 400m champion, Imaobong will be seeking to make a memorable outing at her first Worlds. A sub 51 seconds performance will count as a big achievement for the talented athlete.

Oyesade OLATOYE
Age: 25 (25 JAN 1997)
Event(s):Hammer Throw
PB/SB: 69.89m/65.74m
WCH Appearance(s): One
Best WCH Position: 13th in Qualifiers
Best WCH Performance: 16.97m (Shot Put)
Oyesade will be making history as the first Nigerian woman to participate in the Hammer throw since 1999 when the event made its debut at the Championships in Seville, Spain.The 25 year old made her debut in the championships in 2019 but competed in the Shot Put event.

Chioma ONYEKWERE
Age: 28 (28 JUN 1994)
Event(s):Discus Throw
PB/SB: 63.30m/60.90m
WCH Appearance(s): One
Best WCH Position: 7th in Qualifiers
Best WCH Performance: 61.38m Reigning African champion Chioma is making a return trip to the World Championships after making her debut three years ago in Doha, Qatar with the sole aim of becoming the first Nigerian woman to qualify for the final of the event.

Ese BRUME
Age: 26 (20 JAN 1996)
Event(s): Long Jump
PB/SB: 7.17m/6.92m
WCH Appearance(s): Two
Best WCH Position: 3rd (2019)
Best WCH Performance: 6.91m
One of only two Nigerians after Glory Alozie who have won medals at World Championships indoors and out and at the Olympics, Ese will be seeking to make a standout history as the only Nigerian to have won medals at two consecutive World Championships. If she makes the podium again, she will equal Alozie’s record of winning medals at the World indoor and outdoor championships the same year.

Tobi AMUSAN
Age: 25 (23 APR 1997)
Event(s): 100m Hurdles
PB/SB: 12.41s/12.41s
WCH Appearance(s): Two
Best WCH Position: 4th (2019)
Best WCH Performance: 12.48s
One of the best things to have happened to Nigerian athletics in over five years now, Tobi will be looking to turn fourth place in Doha, Qatar in 2019 to a podium appearance in 2022 in Oregon, USA. The petitte sprint hurdler is one of the favourites for a podium finish in Oregon.

Joy Chinenye UDO-GABRIEL
Age: 23 (02 JUN 1999)
Event(s): 4x100m
PB/SB: 11.34s/11.47s (100m)
WCH Appearance(s): One
Best WCH Position: 6th 4x100m heat
Best WCH Performance: 43.05s (4x100m)
Like she did 2019, Joy will be running in the 4x100m relays in Oregon and will hope to banish the unpleasant experience of three years ago in Doha where the team did not advance to the final.

Patience Okon GEORGE
Age: 30 (25 NOV 1991)
Event(s): 4x400m Mixed Relay
PB/SB: 50.71s/51.80s (400m)
WCH Appearance(s): Four
Best WCH Position:4th, 400m Semifinal (2017)
Best WCH Performance: 50.76s (400m), 3:27.39 (4x400m)
Patience will be making be making her fifth trip to World Athletics’ flagship event, the World Championships and will be hoping for a first podium finish if the 4x400m mixed relay team makes it to the final.

Patience Knowledge OMOVOH
Age: 21 (01 OCT 2000)
Event(s): 4x400m Mixed Relay
PB/SB: 52.31s/52.45s (400m)
WCH Appearance(s): Debut
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance:None
Knowledge is one of three ladies that will be making their debut at the championships and will hope for an instant appearance at the podium in the 4x400m mixed relay.

Ruth USORO
Age: 24 (08 OCT 1997)
Event(s): Long Jump, Triple Jump
PB/SB: 6.78m/6.78m (Long Jump);
14.50m/14.11m (Triple Jump)
WCH Appearance(s): Debut
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance:None
Humble and ever smiling Ruth will be hoping she can be ruthless in the runway, the take-off board and the landing area when she makes her debut in the World Championships. The only field eventer competing in two events at the Championships, Ruth will be hoping to become the first Nigerian, man or woman to qualify for the finals of both the long jump and triple jump events.

MEN

Favour Oghene Tejiri ASHE
Age: 20 (28 APR 2002)
Event(s): 100m, 4x100m
PB/SB: 9.99s/9.99s (400m)
WCH Appearance(s): Debut
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance:None
The reigning fastest man in Nigerian will be seeking to return Nigeria to the final of the blue ribband event 15 years after Olusoji Fasuba last did. He will draw special inspiration from Enoch Adegoke who emerged Nigerian 100m champion last year and went to the Olympics to qualify for the 100m final, 25 years after Davidson Ezinwa last did.

Udodi Chudi ONWUZURIKE
Age: 19 (29 JAN 2003)
Event(s): 100m, 200m, 4x100m
PB/SB: 10.03/10.03s (100m), 20.08s/20.08s (200m)
WCH Appearance(s): Debut
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance:None
Reigning World U20 champion Udodi proved at the World U20 Championships last year he has the talent to compete against the best in the world. At just 19, the Stanford University undergraduate staudent is one to look out for in Oregon.

Godson Oke OGHENEBRUME
Age: 19 (27 MAY 2003)
Event(s): 4x100m
PB/SB: 10.12s/10.12s (100m)
WCH Appearance(s): Debut
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance:None
Brume is one of the 4x100m relay quartet that has the singular task of returning Nigeria to podium since 2007 when the quartet of Obinna Metu, Chukwu Uche Isaac, Chinedu Oriala and Olusoji Fasuba failed to finish in Osaka, Japan.

Ezekiel NATHANIEL
Age: 19 (20 JUN 2003)
Event(s): 400m Hurdles
PB/SB: 48.42s/48.42s
WCH Appearance(s): Debut
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance:None
In May this year, Nathaniel raced into Nigerian history books when he crashed Henry Amike’s 35 year old Nigerian record. The ambitious 19 year old will be making his debut at the World Championships in Oregon where he will be seeking to become the second Nigerian after Amike to run in the final of the event and the fourth African after Zambia’s Samuel Matete (1991.1993 and 1995) and the South African duo of Llewellyn Herbert (1997) and L. J. van Zyl (2011) to make the podium.

Raymond EKEVWO
Age: 23 (23 MAR 1999)
Event(s): 100m, 4x100m
PB/SB: 9.96s/10.04s
WCH Appearance(s): One
Best WCH Position: 5th, Semifinal (100m)
Best WCH Performance:10.14s in 100m first round
Raymond will be seeking to make the final of the 100m event in his second attempt after failing to advance beyond the semis three years ago. He will be hoping to surprise like he did at the African Games in 2019 when he raced to claim the 100m gold with a first ever sub-10 seconds performance.

Usheoritse ITSEKIRI
Age: 24 (31 JAN 1998)
Event(s):4x100m
PB/SB: 10.02s/10.09s
WCH Appearance(s): One
Best WCH Position: 7th, First Round (100m)
Best WCH Performance:10.46s in 100m first round
Usheoritse will be aiming for his first World championships when he makes his second appearance in the competition. Albeit he will not be running in the individual 100m event like he did in Doha, Qatar in 2019, the 24 year old knows he and his colleagues won’t be pushovers in the 4x100m relay.

Dubem AMENE
Age: 19 (10 NOV 2002)
Event(s):4x400m Mixed relay
PB/SB: 45.51s/45.51s (400m)
WCH Appearance(s): Debut
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance:None
Another debutant, Dubem will want to make his entry into the Championships a memorable one by helping the 4x400m mixed relay team make the podium.

Samson Oghenewegba NATHANIEL
Age: 24 (29 AUG 1997)
Event(s):4x400m Mixed relay
PB/SB: 45.23s/45.99s (400m)
WCH Appearance(s): One
Best WCH Position: 5th, First Round (400m)
Best WCH Performance: 46.63
Samson is returning to the World Championships after making his debut five years ago in London. Like he did then, he will be participating only in the relay event.

Dotun OGUNDEJI
Age: 26 (24 FEB 1996)
Event(s):Shot Put
PB/SB: 21.05m/19.73m
WCH Appearance(s): Debut
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance: None
Dotun is making his debut at the Championships. He is one of only three Nigerians to have hit the 21m mark, the 26 year old will be seeking to make the final 12 where eight will go ahead to compete for the medals thereafter.

Seye OGUNLEWE
Age: 30 (30 AUG 1991)
Event(s):4x100m
PB/SB: 10.11s/10.20s
WCH Appearance(s): One
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance: None
Seye was a member of the Nigerian 4x100m relay that got disqualified in Doha, Qatar three years ago. The 30 year old will hope to register an acceptable performance on his return to the biggest athletics stage in the world.

Sikiru Adewale ADEYEMI
Age: 24 (02 JUL 1998)
Event(s):4x400m Mixed
PB/SB: 45.93s/46.11s (400m)
WCH Appearance(s): Debut
Best WCH Position: None
Best WCH Performance: None
Sikiru is making his debut at the championships and will hope for a good performance to help the 4x400m mixed relay team get to their first global final.

Chukwuebuka Cornnell ENEKWECHI
Age: 29 (28 JAN 1993)
Event(s):Shot Put
PB/SB: 21.80m/21.25m
WCH Appearance(s): One
Best WCH Position: 8th (Final)
Best WCH Performance: 21.18m
Nigeria record holder Chukwuebuka made history three years ago as the first Nigerian man to throw his way to the final of the event. This time, the 29 year old will be seeking to make further history as the first Nigerian Shot Putter to make the podium.

By Dare Esan

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