Nigeria begins hunt for medals at 2019 IAAF World Championships
Sprint hurdler, Tobiloba Amusan and long jumper, Ese Brume will spearhead Nigeria’s challenge for podium appearances when the 17th edition of the IAAF flagship event, the World Championships begin today in Doha, Qatar.
Amusan, the fourth fastest athlete (12.49 seconds) over the 100m hurdles so far this year behind the Jamaican duo of world leader, Danielle William (12.32 seconds) and reigning NCAA champion, Janeek Brown (12.40), as well as reigning world record holder, U.S.’s Kendra Harrison, has been in impressive form this season, running a lifetime best in Sotteville, France last July and has legally ducked inside 13 seconds 10 times this season.
The petite Nigerian looks a cast iron certainty to make her first sprint hurdles final after stumbling at the semi-final stage two years ago in London.
If she scaled the hurdles into her first global final, the reigning All Africa Games queen will be one of the favourites to make the podium.
Also favoured for a podium appearance in Doha is Brume, the 2018 African Championship and 2019 African Games gold medallist in the long jump.
Brume is the second best athlete in the world over the horizontal jump so far this year with her 7.05m leap in Bursa, Turkey last month behind Germany’s Malaika Mihambo, whose 7.16m world lead was achieved on August 4.
Sprinters Divine Oduduru and African Games fastest man, Raymond Ekevwo, as well as shot putter, Enekwechi Chukwuebuka can also fancy their chances of making the finals of the 100m and shot put events.
No Nigerian male has made the 100m final since 2007 when Olusoji Fasuba ran 10.07 seconds to place fourth in Osaka, but the duo of Oduduru and Ekevwo look likely to change the story and perhaps go a step further by becoming the first Nigerian man (or woman) to win a blue ribband medal at the IAAF Worlds.
Enekwechi on his part has had a very impressive season, breaking the national record on multiple occasions before steadying it 21.80m, the 10th best mark in the world this season.
He will, however, need to hit the 22m mark, which eight persons led by U.S.’s Ryan Crouser (22.74m) have done this year.