Sports ministry, AFN move to boost athletes’ morale as 4x100m relay begins
• Coaches work on baton exchange
In a move to boost the morale of Nigerian athletes and officials at the ongoing Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championship in Eugene, United States, the Sports Ministry and Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) are in a race to ‘fix situation’ in the team’s camp ahead of the 4x100m relay event, which starts tomorrow.
The athletes are said to be grumbling over allowances, but a top official of the sports ministry told The Guardian yesterday that things would be sorted out before the commencement of the 4x100m relay events.
The official hinted yesterday that an official of the AFN would depart for Oregon today.
After the failure by Nigeria’s male and female sprinters in both the 100m and 200m events, attention will shift to the women’s 4x100m relay team tomorrow.
The trio of Rosemary Chukwuma, Grace Nkwocha, and Favour Ofili could not rescue the situation for Team Nigeria in the 200m event on Tuesday, as they failed to reach the medals zone. Reigning World U20 200m champion, Udodi Onwuzurike, could not also go beyond the heat.
The 4x100m relay for both men and women will begin tomorrow (July 22), and Nigerian coaches are said to be sweating it out at Oregon, perfecting strategies on smooth baton exchange.
The quartet of Favour Ashe, Godson Brume, Alaba Akintola, and Udodi Onwuzurike, who stormed to a Season’s Best Time of 38.35 seconds during the AFN’s National Trials last month in Benin City, Edo State, will have to improve their performance as they face the rest of the world in the 4x100m relay.
But Nigeria’s medals hope in the relay seem to be more on the women, who made it to Oregon after France women’s 4x100m relay team was ‘depleted.’
Tobi Amusan, Rosemary Chukwuma, Grace Nwokocha, Favour Ofili and Joy Udo-Gabriel are the nation’s flag bearers in the 4x100m relay team, which has a season best time of 43.25 seconds.
Nigeria’s 4x100m women’s team initially had its ticket to Oregon 2022 World Championships taken away following new doping allegations brought against former Nigeria sprint queen, Blessing Okagbare, whose ban has been increased from ten to 11 years.
After the relay events, attention will shift to the duo of Ese Brume and Tobi Amusan, who will start their individual events tomorrow.