World Athletics (WA) has disqualified Nigeria women’s 4x400m team from the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan following technical infringements in the qualification process.
It was reported earlier by Nigerian media that the quartet of Patience Okon, Imaobong Uko, Favour Ofili and Knowledge Omovoh ran a Season Best of 3:26.83 at the recently concluded Lagos State Athletics Open held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium to secure a ticket to Tokyo.
However, it has been discovered that technical officials in charge of the race failed to place cones on the appropriate lane marks, which is against the technical rules. The World Athletics governing body had to reverse Team Nigeria qualification status for the summer event after seeing the videos that showed the lapses.
The first vice-president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) Sunday Adeleye under the leadership of Ibrahim Shehu Gusau reacted to the decision of WA by saying the disqualification has taken the country’s athletics backwards.
“This is where professionalism comes in when people who are supposed to be at the helm of affairs are not allowed to do their job. Nigeria should have qualified for the event with ease if we were allowed to attend the World Relays in Poland.”
“The disqualification has taken athletics backwards in Nigeria, but we just have to stay focused and concentrate on what we have now and see what God will do for Nigeria amidst all the distractions in the AFN going into the Olympic Games,” he said.
However, with respect to the report about the women’s 4x400m team being disqualified from competing in Tokyo, the quartet of Okon, Uko, Ofili and Omovoh will still compete at the Olympics. Okon and Ofili will fly the country flag in the 400m and 200m respectively, while Imaobong, Knowledge and Patience are to be selected in the mixed 4x400m event.