Recuperating Team Nigeria quarter-miler, Regina George, has thanked Nigerians for their goodwill messages and support in the last 48 hours after pulling out of the semi finals of the 400m due to ill health.
George who was tipped by many athletics buffs to win the 400m title at the just concluded 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland based on her glowing performances in the indoor circuit between January and February pulled out of the semi-final due to cramps.
When the championship started on Friday, George showed the world she is the woman to beat in the 400m title when she won her heat with little effort running a 51.60, the fastest time in all the heats.
After the heats she suffered cramps which ruled her out of the semi-final.
George told athleticsnigeria.com in Poland that: ’’ I thank Nigerians for their messages of goodwill and support; I also thanks my mates and all the officials, especially our president, Chief Solomon Ogba.
‘’ Coming here, I was hale and healthy, very strong and determined to do well in my individual event and help my teammates so that we could also medal in the relay.
“After my heats, I felt normally, it was when I got to the hotel that I started feeling some pains. I immediately contacted the doctor and I was advised to rest and seek adequate medical attention, that running in the semi-final and other races may aggravate the injury. I decided to heed to their advice because I know this championship is just part of our build-up to the Commonwealth Games and I would not like to do anything that will jeopardise my dream of competing and hopefully winning medals at the Commonwealth Games’’.
For George, it is painful that even a 52.10secs won a medal in the final. “It is real painful not running in the finals. It is one of those things. Like I said earlier, my ultimate dream this season is the Commonwealth Games and the African Championship.’’
It is not only George that was disappointed. Those who had tipped her to win the ultimate prize were disappointed that she got injured.
Meanwhile, Team Nigeria’s 4x400m men quartet of Tobi Ogunmola, Noah Akwu, Isah Saliu and Amaechi Morton who set a new African record of 3:07.95 in the 4x400m Indoor have promised to overcome the disappointment of not making the final in Sopot, by working harder to ensure success at the Commonwealth Games and the Africa Championships.
Ogunmola who ran the first leg for Nigeria blame their recall after they have gone more than 100m into the race.
“I was doing very well and my race was going as planned until we were recalled after over a 100m due to technical failure. But by the time they asked us to restart the race, we had not rested very well so that affected us. But I am happy that we ran well, set a new African record in the indoor and also beat Bahamas. This is our first race together this year. if our programme is followed religiously, by the time we run all the relays in America, the World Relays in Bahamas, the Warri Relays and other meets planned for us after the AFN/CRS All Nigeria Athletics Championships, we will be in top shape for the Commonwealth Games,’’ stressed Ogunmola.
Akwu who ran his first race of the year admitted that the World Indoor was an eye opener. “Sopot is an opener for all of us; I never believed we could run as fast as we did because we have not run together in a long time. Now that we know we can do well at the Commonwealth and African Championships, all we need do is more races together and more bounding. We shall do well in all the games and championships in the outdoor, and also we must not forget that most of us are not used to the indoor,’’ said Akwu.