IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) on Tuesday released the list of 12 athletes to represent Nigeria at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London next month with sprinter Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and USA-based Tobiloba Amusan the star cast.
The 16th IAAF Worlds is scheduled to begin on August 4 through 13.
Okagbare is making her fourth appearance at the Worlds where she has long jump silver and 200m bronze medals to show for her outing at the 2013 edition in Moscow, Russia.
The Sapele-born sprinter is to compete in IAAF flagship event the 100m and the long jump events. Okagbare is out of the 200m as well as the 4x100m relay that Nigeria dumped due to insufficient quality legs to guarantee podium placement.
Amusan on the other hand is making her debut in the Worlds’ women’s 100m hurdles event in London. She is the second fastest Nigerian nay African woman (12.57 seconds) in the sprint hurdles after African record holder, Glory Alozie (12.44 seconds).
Others listed for the championships are reigning Commonwealth Games long jump queen, Ese Brume, who will be hoping to leap at least two steps higher than her fifth place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Another debutante, Glory Onome Nathaniel, will compete in the 400m hurdles as well as join the quarter-mile trio of Patience Okon-George, Yinka Ajayi and Margaret Bamgbose for the 4x400m relay.
Okon-George, semi-finalists in the event two years ago in Beijing, China at the 15th edition of the championships will also the 4x400m relay quartet comprising of herself, Ajayi, Bamgbose, Emerald Egwin and Abike Egbeniyi.
In the men category, home-boy Samson Nathaniel will be making his debut at the championships and will compete in the 400m while the USA-based duo of Chukwuebuka Enekwachi and Edose Ibadin will also be making their first appearance at the championships.
Enekwachi will be competing in the Shot Put event following his impressive 21.07m throw almost a fortnight ago in Cork, Republic of Ireland while Edose will
compete in the 800m and become in the process the first Nigerian man to compete in the two full laps race in the history of the championships.
Edose holds a personal season’s best of 1:45.87 which is a Nigerian record and makes him only the second Nigerian to run inside 1:46 seconds in the event.
Nigeria has won a total of eight medals in the championships made up of four silver medals (Innocent Egbunike in the 400m in 1987; the 4x100m men in 1997; Glory Alozie in the 100m hurdles in 1999; and Blessing Okagbare in the long jump in 2013). The four bronze medals are; (Ajayi Agbebaku in the triple jump in 1983; the men’s 4x400m team in 1995; Francis Obikwelu in the 200m in 1999; and Okagbare in the 200m in 2013).