Saturday, September 25, 2021

Tokyo Olympics: Nigerian women relay teams qualify, men’s teams struggling

The 4×400 metres team picked their qualification after recording the best time of 3:26.84 at the just concluded Lagos Open Athletics Championships.

• June 25, 2021

Nigerian women athletic teams for the 4×100 and 4×400 metres relay race have qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics while the men’s teams are yet to pick their own tickets for the summer games.

The 4×400 metres team comprising Favor Ofilli, Okon-George, Imaobong Nse Ukoh and Knowledge Omovoh finally picked their qualification after recording the best time of 3:26.84 at the just concluded Lagos Open Athletics Championships.

The team had failed to scale through at the National Championships which held on June 17 in Lagos when they recorded a time lag short of qualification.

The Lagos Open Athletics Championships at the Teslim Balogun stadium was the last straw for their qualification with athletes from other African Countries competing for the Tokyo Olympics qualification.

Blessing Okagbare led Rosemary Chukwuma, Favor Ofilli, and Grace Nwokocha in the 4×100 metres team to secure their own Olympics qualification at the trials which took place at the Yaba College of Technology track-field, where they pulled a 42.97 time.

The 4×100 team had also failed to pick their qualification immediately as their recorded race time was average but for the inability of athletes from other African nations to beat the race time.

Disappointment came from the men’s team both in 4×100 and 4×400 metres who failed to capitalise on the Lagos championships to qualify and will now have their last opportunity on Sunday at the Making of Champions, MOC Relays also at Yabatech.

Nigeria’s women’s best record at the 4×100 metres is held by the quartet, Beatrice  Utondu, Faith Idehen, Christy Opara-thompson and Mary Omagbemi in 1992 at Barcelona where they recorded 42.39 race time.

A silver medal winning record time of 3:21.04  is Nigeria’s best at the 4×400 metres event which Olabisi Afolabi, Fatima Yusuf, Falilat Ogunkoya and Charity Opara recorded at the 1996 Olympics games in Atlanta, USA.

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