By Dare Esan: Nigeria will attempt to add a relay medal to the 11 she has so far hauled when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Championships begin next week in Birmingham, England.
Nigeria will present a team in the women’s 4x400m event for the third consecutive edition and officials of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria will hope the team will go beyond setting another African record in the event (3:29.67) like it did four years ago at the Ergo Arena in Sopot, Poland and make a first ever podium appearance. The (IAAF) on Thursday confirmed Nigeria’s entry for the event and the women, expected to be led by Patience Okon George who anchored the team to a fifth placed finish in 2014 will begin their chase for the historic medal at 5.30pm on Saturday March 3 at the Arena Birmingham. If they make it to the final the next day,then all eyes will be on the women to make history.Nigeria’s first participation in the event was in 2001 in Lisbon, Portugal where the men’s quartet of Jude Monye, Fidelis Gadzama, Sunday Bada and Enefiok Udo-Obong set a new 3:09.76 seconds national record to qualify for the final where they eventually placed fifth (3:16.53).
Nigeria presented teams for the male and female events for the first team in 2014 in Poland with the highlight of their participation the African record the quartet of Omolara Omotoso, Patience Okon George, Bukola Abogunloko, Folashade Abugan set in the semi-final before finishing fifth in the final (3:31.59).The men’s quartet of Tobi Ogunmola, Noah Akwu, Salihu Isah, Cristian Morton also set a new African record of 3:07.95 seconds in the semis which was not good enough to take them to the final.
It was another double attack for a podium place two years ago at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. The women’s quartet of Margaret Bamgbose, Regina George, Tameka Jameson and Ada Benjamin placed fourth (3:34.03) in the final while the men’s team of Noah Akwu, Chidi Okezie, Abiola Onakoya and Samson Oghenewegba Nathaniel finished fifth in the final (3:08.55).