After Falcons’ exit, Nigerians shift attention to World Championships
Though the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand is in its semifinal stage, for many sports loving Nigerians, there is nothing more to savour in the competition since the Super Falcons and other African teams crashed out. Australia/New Zealand FIFA Women World Cup
Most of them have shifted their focus to the Budapest 2023 World Athletics Championships, where the best of Nigeria’s track and field stars will compete with their foreign counterparts from August 19 to 27.
At the last edition of the championships held in Oregon, United States, Team Nigeria had a superlative performance, with Tobi Amusan setting a new world record in the 100m hurdles, while Ese Brume grabbed a silver in long jump.
The stage is set once again for another bid for excellence in the gathering of the world’s best athletes.
Team Nigeria’s advanced team, led by the Secretary General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Rita Mosinde, left Lagos for Budapest, yesterday.
The Athletes camp will open today in Budapest, and the first set of Nigerian stars, particularly those based in the United States, are expected to arrive in the Hungarian city ahead the opening ceremony on August 19.
Reigning Nigeria’s 100m champion, Ushoritse Itshekiri, tops the list of 11 men listed for the championships, while two times world silver medalist, long jumper, Ese Brume, will lead 15 other women to Budapest.
Commonwealth Youth Games gold and silver medalists, Faith Okwose and Eyakpobeyan Justina will run in the women’s 4x100m.
Ruth Usoro, the reigning Nigerian long jump champion, will join Brume in the event, while ImaobongNse Uko will run in the 400m event.
Nigeria will be represented in the Discus throw event by the trio of Chioma Onyekwere, Amaechi Obiageri Pamela and Ashley Anumba.
For the men, Dubem Nwachukwu, will compete in the 400m, while Ezekiel Nathaniel will run in the 400m hurdles.
Veteran Seye Ogunlewe will join Itshekiri and Favour Ashe to compete in the 100m. Chukwuebuka Enekwechi will compete in the Shot Put and Alaba Akintola has been slated to compete in the 200m.
A total of six coaches, led by chief Tony Osheku, will accompany the team to Budapest. Before last year’s edition of the World championships in Oregon, where Nigeria had its best performance, the nation had won two individual medals at the 1999 and 2013 editions in Seville, Spain and Moscow, Russia respectively.
While Ajayi Agbebaku made history as the first Nigerian to win a world championships medal (triple jump bronze in 1983), Blessing Okagbare is the only one to win two medals at the same edition of the competition (long jump silver and 200m bronze in Moscow, Russia in 2013.
Three of the athletes originally billed to compete for Nigeria in Budapest, UdodiOnwuzurike, Godson Brume and Tima Godbless withdrew due to injury or on health ground.
Reigning World 100m hurdles champion and record holder, Tobi Amusan, is still awaiting her clearance to compete after she was provisionally suspended following whereabouts failures charges by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
It is expected that the 26-year-old Amusan may be given public warning by the AIU later today.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.