Nigeria will be represented by 12 track and field athletes at the 16th edition of the IAAF World Athletics Championships to kick off this Friday in London. As usual, the team will be led by the most successful Nigerian athlete in the Championships, Blessing Okagbare, a Silver and Bronze medal in Moscow in 2013 seals that fact.
For the umpteenth time heading to a major athletics event, Nigeria relies on Okagbare to put its name on the medals board, a hopeless stance this time around. Okagbare has posted slower times for a while now, only able to hit a sub 11 seconds once this year – a 10.99s 3rd place finish at the London meeting, lost her hair in the Long Jump in Oslo but was able to retain her 100m title at the Warri Relays.
Oluwatobiloba Amusan has been hugging the headlines since the wee end of 2016, mostly racing for her school – The University of Texas at El Paso in the NCAA. Notable achievement is posting a time of 12.57s in Eugene, a record which ultimately landed her a 2nd spot in world, only bettered by World champion Kendra Harrison – 12.55s in 1st place back in June. The world Champs is nothing like the fields in the NCAA, perhaps Amusan could have tested her might against a tougher field in Lausanne but was hampered by visa issues. Amusan was awarded the best female athlete in her conference, but on her debut in London, the Nigerian champion will be racing against the best legs in the world. It’ll be great to at least see her reach the semi-finals.
— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) June 16, 2017
The ever smiling Ese Brume has tasted the big stage before, placing 5th overall at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Brume is shy and at that point where her potential is beginning to burst out, the student-athlete is racing for Adidas at the Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus. She leaped to a mark of 6.49m at the Drake Relays in April and also defended her national title at the All Nigeria Track and Field Championships last month.
It’s been a while we had sibling athletes in the Nigeria athletics frame, perhaps not one of note since the Ezinwa Brothers, this time it’s Glory and Samson Nathaniel. Samson is currently the National champion with PB of 45.23s in the Men’s 400m while sister Glory posted a PB of 55.90s in the Women’s 400mH in Baku. Both will have to better their times to enable them get out of their respective heats.
There’s a somewhat ray of hope that the quartet of Okon-George, Yinka Ajayi, Margaret Bamgbose, Emerald Egwin and Abike Egbeniyi will yield at least a semi final finish in women’s 4x400m relay, anything outside that is being hopeful.
Shot Putter Chukwuebuka Enekwechi will be competing for Nigeria for the time, with a SB of 21.07m, he will get to the final if he throws a similar distance in London, but that’s asking for too much from a debutante.
According to the grapevine, the Athletics federation of Nigeria are still waiting on the Ministry of Sports for funds, It’s not soothsaying but most of these athletes will end up in London by paying through their own pockets. So about what to expect, you do the maths.