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Nigeria faces USA, Sweden in 4x400m relay, as World Indoor tourney ends in Belgrade 

By Gowon Akpodonor
20 March 2022   |   4:08 am
Team Nigeria will begin its quest for medals at the 2022 World Indoor Championship in Belgrade, Serbia, this morning with a tough contest against the United States, Sweden, Ecuador and Belgium in the 4x400m relay heat.

Team Nigeria will begin its quest for medals at the 2022 World Indoor Championship in Belgrade, Serbia, this morning with a tough contest against the United States, Sweden, Ecuador and Belgium in the 4x400m relay heat.

Five Nigerian athletes left Lagos for Belgrade on Turkish Airline aboard Wednesday night without their coaches and team doctor, who were held back due to visa hitches. Their flight tickets were rescheduled for the next day.

But on securing the visa on Thursday, the three officials could not make the trip as the Turkish Airline claimed that the flight was fully booked.

The AFN President, Tonobok Okowa and Secretary General, Niyi Beyioku, insisted on getting seats for the three officials to join the athletes in Belgrade. It eventually paid off on Friday night as coach Seigha Porbeni, Endurance Ojokolo and the team doctor jetted out.

Speaking with The Guardian on arrival in Belgrade, yesterday, Porbeni said it was good to team up with the athletes 24 hours before their events. Porbeni praised AFN for making sure that they made the trip.  

He revealed that Nigeria’s 4x400m relay quartet of Sikiru Adewale Adeyemi, Samson Oghenewegba Samson, Timothy Emewoghene and Ifeanyi Emmanuel Ojeli have been drawn against Team USA, Sweden, Ecuador and Belgium in the heat, which will hold at 11:00am, today.  

“We have told our athletes that there is nothing to worry about USA and those countries,” Porbeni said. “If they get it right from the block, I am sure we will qualify for the final and possibly get a medal. There will be three heats, only first place and fastest three losers will qualify,” Porbeni stated.
 
Later this evening, Olympics jump bronze medalist, Ese Brume, and U.S.-based Ruth Asoro will attempt to get medals in the long jump event.

Brume is seeking to become the only third Nigerian athlete to win medals in all three global athletics championships, including the Olympics.

Brume, who is competing in her first World Indoor Championships, has won medals at the World outdoor championships (bronze in 2019) and the Olympics (bronze in Tokyo), and is now hoping to join Gloria Alozie and the late Sunday Bada as athletes who have won medals at the world athletics championships indoors and outdoors, as well as the Olympics.

Alozie won silver at the World Indoor championships in 1999 in Maebashi (60m hurdles) and at the outdoor version later that year in Seville Spain (100m hurdles) before going on to win another silver medal at the Olympics and in the process became the first Nigerian to win medals in all three global sporting fiesta.