Team Nigeria begins search for Olympic spots

Team Nigerians will begin their search for tickets to all five relay events of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in other countries during the World Athletics Relays, which begins on Saturday (today) in Nassau, Bahamas, PUNCH SportExtra reports.

The two-day global event will see 893 athletes from 54 countries compete for a spot at the Centenary Games on Saturday and Sunday, as confirmed by World Athletics.

The event serves as a qualifier for the Paris Olympics, with the top 14 teams from each event at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 24 automatically qualifying for spots at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The remaining two places in each discipline will be awarded based on top rankings during the qualification period (December 31, 2022 to June 30, 2024).

Team Nigeria is currently ranked second in Africa after Kenya and 16th best in the world after taking gold in the 4x100m, bronze in the 4x400m, a fourth and fifth place and three seventh places, good for a total of 29 points at the World Relays. .

Tobi Amusan, the world record holder in the women’s 100m hurdles, tops the list of 29 athletes confirmed to represent Nigeria at the event.

Amusan has been instrumental in Nigeria’s recent success in the women’s 4x100m relay, securing gold at both the African Games and the Commonwealth Games, the latter of which was withdrawn due to a doping violation by another member of the relay team.

The 26-year-old is joined by Nigerian 200m record holder Favor Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Justina Eyakpobeyan, Tima Godbless, Elo Blessing and African Games double sprint medalist Olayinka Olajide.

A surprising omission from the men’s 4x100m team list is Favor Ashe, Nigeria’s fastest man this year with two sub-10 second finishes (9.96 seconds and 9.99 seconds).

The 21-year-old Auburn University student is in excellent outdoor form, yet his name was omitted from the final entry list released by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.

No reason has been given for his exclusion, although sources suggest the sprinter has not been released by his university to be in the Bahamas.

With this development, Godson Oghenebrume and Udodi Onwuzurike will lead Nigeria’s men’s 4x100m event alongside Alaba Akintola, Karlington Anunagba, Consider Ekanem, Seye Ogunlewe and Israel Okon Sunday.

Their aim is to secure a place in the top 14 and land a coveted job at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, a feat Nigeria has not achieved since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In the men’s 4x400m, African champion Chidi Okezie has been leading the charge since 2004 for a return to the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

He is accompanied by Sikiru Adeyemi, Dubem Amene, Ezekiel Nathaniel and his brother Samson Nathaniel, Dubem Nwanchukwu, Samuel Ogazi and Ifeanyi Ojeli.

The Nigerian quarter milers at the African Games in Accra in March enter Nassau as the third fastest country in the world this year with a time of 3:01:84 seconds behind Zambia who clocked a national record of 2:59.12 seconds to to win at the African Games, while Botswana is in second place.

The women’s 4x400m includes Omolara Ogunmakinju, the hero of the African Games who turned silver into gold for Nigeria in the mixed relay.

She is joined by the rapidly improving Ella Onojuvwevwo (recent 51.32 seconds – a personal best), African Games silver medalist Elo Joseph (three runs under 52 seconds in Accra) and veteran Patience Okon.