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Nigerian athletes battle Powell, as IAAF 2016 World Indoor Championships begins


Triple jumper, Tosin Oke

Triple jumper, Tosin Oke

Beginning from today, 18 Nigerian athletes (nine male and nine female) will battle their counterparts from 147 other nations at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships holding at Portland (Oregon Convention Center) in the United States.

About 547 athletes (299 men and 148 women) from around the world are participating in the championships.The male athletes, who will fly Nigeria’s flag at Portland 2016, include sprinter Ogho-Oghene Egwero. He will compete in the 60m against Jamaica’s Asafa Powell. While the Nigerian (Egwero) holds a season best record of 6.60 seconds in the 60m, the Jamaican holds a frightening personal and season best record of 6.49 seconds.

In February this year, Powell showed up unannounced and ran a world leading 6.49 in 60m in Houston.The difference notwithstanding, officials of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) feel Egwero and other athletes have what it takes to make the nation proud in Portland.

The 60m heat and semifinal events will take place tomorrow, while the final of the shot put event, where Stephen Mozia is Nigeria’s sole competitor, will also hold.

To compete for Nigeria in the 400m and 4x400m relays are Orukpe Eraiyokan, Noah Akwu, Abiola Onakoya, Samson Oghenewegba Nathaniel and Isah Salihu.

Tosin Oke is for the triple jump event alongside Olu Olamigoke.In the female category, all eyes will be on hurdler, Lindsay Lindley in the 60m hurdles, just as Doreen Amata will carry the nation’s hope in the high jump event.

Patience Okon George, who got her visa at the dying minute to travel with Team Nigeria’s second batch yesterday, will carry the aspirations of Nigerians in the 400m and 4 x 400m relay alongside Tameka Jameson, Josephine Ehigie, Regina George, Ada Benjamin and Margaret Bamgbose. Claire Uke will compete in the shot put event for Team Nigeria.

Four coaches, including Gabriel Okon, accompanied the Nigerian team to Portland, while AFN President, Solomon Ogba, is expected to join them in their U.S camp later. The championship will end on Saturday.

Seven world indoor medallists, including two-time heptathlon champion, Ashton Eaton, will fly America’s flag in the championship. In total, 58 athletes will represent the USA.

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