The on-going 7th IAAF World Athletics Championships witnessed a disappointing outing for Team Nigeria. The men and women’s 4x100m relay teams flopped at the event. Both failed in their respective races and in the process denied Nigeria one of its strongest medal hopes.
Indeed, Nigeria’s athletes have always enjoyed a good run at the relays in major athletics competitions. However, the displays in Doha left Team Nigeria with egg on their faces.
The men’s team had the worst showing. They finished last in their qualifying race. Further adding to the embarrassment, the team was disqualified for violating an IAAF competition rule.
It was an embarrassing return to the IAAF World Athletics Championships for Team Nigeria’s men relay team.
The team was making a return to the championships after a 12-year absence. The last time it featured was in 2007. Back then, the team had also failed to finish at the Nagai stadium in Osaka, Japan. Notwithstanding the performance last time out, there was renewed hope of an impressive showing in Doha.
As a matter of fact, two of the men’s relay quartet had broken the 10 seconds mark this year. They include Divine Oduduru who clocked 9.86 secs and Raymond Ekevwo – 9.96 secs. Also, another member of the team, Utshoritse Itshekiri, had achieved a time of 10.02 less than two months ago. This was a personal best for the Delta-born athlete.
Poor run at IAAF Championships continues for Team Nigeria
However, it all proved to be inadequate as Team Nigeria’s men flattered to deceive.
On the other hand, the women’s team placed seventh in their race – with a new 43.05 seconds personal season’s best. African 2oom record holder, Blessing Okagbare, was one of the quartet. Nevertheless, her presence was not enough to inspire the team to a better finish.
Indeed, the performance was not enough to get them a spot in the final which will be contested on Saturday and early qualification for next year’s Olympics in Japan. With this showing, the team had again failed to achieve a podium placement.
The last time this happened was at the 1991 and 2001 edition when Team Nigeria’s female 4x100m relay team secured fourth place finishes.