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Nigerian sprinters dazzle at 2024 World Relays in the Bahamas with four relay tickets to Paris 2024 Olympics

Posted : 07 May 2024

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It's an exciting moment for Nigeria's relay teams as both the men's and women's categories displayed class in the just-concluded World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas, which, for the first time since inception, served as Olympic qualifiers for all five official relays at the Olympic Games.

The Bahamas relay race featured four heats in all events at the World Relays, and the fastest two in each heat secured automatic qualification for Paris.

Team Nigeria presented four relay teams, and all four teams qualified for the Games, marking the first time since 2004 that the country would have four relay teams at the quadrennial event.

On the first day, Nigeria kicked off their campaign in exciting fashion as they punched the Olympic ticket in the mixed 4x400m relay.

The quartet of Samuel Ogazi, Ella Onojuvwevwo, Chidi Okezie, and Esther Elo Joseph competed in the second heat, which included reigning World Champions – USA, Bahrain, and South Africa.

They finished 2nd in a time of 3:13.79 behind the USA, and would go on to place 4th in the final in an African Record of 3:12.87.

In quick succession, the men's 4x400m quartet of Dubem Nwachukwu, Dubem Amene, Sikiru Adeyemi, and Chidi Okezie put up an absolutely stellar performance, clocking a time of 3:01.70, the team’s fastest time in 20 years, to secure qualification for the Olympics!

Chidi Okezie was the star of both races, running incredible legs to bring the nation back into contention with splits of 44.46s and 44.78s, respectively.

While both the women’s and men’s 4x100m teams finished 3rd and 4th, respectively, in their qualifying heats on Day 1 of the World Relays, they geared up for another chance at Olympic glory in the second qualifying round on Day 2.

The top two teams from each of the three repechage relay heats had a chance to join the eight finalists in securing Paris 2024 quotas.

Presented with such a chance, the Nigerian women’s 4x100m quartet of Justina Eyakpobeyan, Favour Ofili, Olayinka Olajide, and Tima Godbless showed impressive team chemistry, storming to victory in their heat in a time of 42.71s to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics!

They fended off the challenge posed by a strong Swiss team who finished 2nd in 42.75s, while China placed 3rd in 43.13s.

The men ran in the immediate next race and powered through in 38.57s to finish 2nd in their heat behind Ghana, securing Nigeria’s first men’s 4x100m Olympic ticket in 16 years!

Udodi Onwuzurike, Consider Ekanem, Alaba Akintola, Seye Ogunlewe, and Karlington Anunagba all played vital roles in bringing the team to qualification in the Bahamas.

Following the qualification of 14 teams per event in Nassau, the remaining two places for Paris in each discipline will be awarded based on top lists during the qualification period (31 December 2022 to 30 June 2024).

The only Nigerian team that didn’t feature at the World Relays was the women’s 4x400m – an event where Nigeria has always had a strong foothold.

They are currently 2nd based on the top lists, just behind nations who have secured automatic qualification, and will now hope to hang on to one of the two spots left within the Olympic qualification period.


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