By Dare Esan:
The future certaily looked bleak for Nigeria in track and field Tuesday when two more athletes failed to make it beyond the opening round on the opening day of the IAAF World Juinor Championships holding at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
The men’s quartermile duo of Samson Oghenewegba Nathaniel and Adekunle Rilwan Fasasi crashed out in the first round of their event. While Nathaniel managed a fourth placed (47.77) finish in heat six, Fasasi was disqualified for violating IAAF rule 163.3(a) in the following heat.
Long jumper, Ese Brume whose 6.68m leap in Calabar at the Commonwealth Games trial last month had given Nigerians hope of a sure podium appearance failed to fulfil expectations as she finished last (17th) in her qualifying group. She only managed one legal jump out of three and it was a mind boggling 5.18m leap to crash out.
Interestingly, Brume holds two of the best three marks (6.68m & 6.60m) in the world this year by a junior athlete in the women’s long jump prior to the championships.
Earlier in the day, sprint hurdler Bashiru Abdullahi set a new 14.04 seconds Nigeria junior record, but failed to advance to the semi-finals of the 110m hurdles event.
He placed sixth in heat 5 to open a floodgate of failures for Team Nigeria on the opening day of competition.
Sprinter Kehinde Olubodun also placed sixth (10.62) in his heat to crash out of the 100m event.The same fate befell 800m runner, Jennifer Adaeze Edobi who also placed sith to bid bye to the championships.
Later today the duo of Praise Oghenefejiro Idamadudu (lane 8,heat 1) and Edidiong Ofonime Odiong (lane 4,heat 5) will compete in the women’s 400m as the championship enters the second day of competition.
The championships had served as the platform for such stars as Mary Onyali (200m silver in 1986),Falilat Ogunkoya (200m gold in 1986),Francis Obikwelu (100 & 200m gold in 1996),Glory Alozie (100m hurdles silver in 1996),Olabisi Afolabi (400m gold in 1994),Deji Aliu (100m gold in 1994) and Davidson Ezinwa (100 gold in 1990) and many others to launch their ways into internationmal reckoning.