By Dare Esan:
The Nigerian quartermile trio of Patience Okon George, Yinka Ajayi and Margaret Bamgbose Monday night at the Olympic stadium in London failed to advance to the final of the women's 400m while quartermile barrier runner, Glory Onome Nathaniel, must run inside 55 seconds to make a historic 400m hurdles final after the semi-final starlist was released by the IAAF.
George, who has made it a back-to-back semi final appearance in the championships, placed seventh (52.60 seconds) in the first of three semi-finals, Ajayi improved to sixth place in the second semis with her 52.10 seconds run while Bamgbose,semi-finalist last year at the Olympics in Rio De Janiero, Brazil was last (8th, 52.23 seconds) in the third semi-final.
Meanwhile, Nathaniel has been drawn in a very tough semi-final heat of the 400m hurdles which holds Tuesday night.
The reigning Nigeria champion who set a new 55.30 seconds personal best to make the semi-finals in her debut at the championships has been drawn in the second semi-final and will compete for the two available automatic slots for the final against four athletes who have broken 55 seconds this year with Switzerland's Léa Sprunger with 54.29 seconds personal best achieved this season leading the pack.
Others are Jamaica's Ristananna Tracey who holds a 54.49 seconds season's best,Sara Slott Petersen (54.35 seconds) and USA's Cassandra Tate who has ran 54.59 seconds this season.
No Nigerian athlete has qualified for the final of the event since Maria Usifo became the first to make it to the semi-final of the event 20 years ago albeit she did not eventually start the race and Nathaniel will be hoping for a miracle of some sort Tuesday night to make history.