Team Nigeria‘s 4x400m mixed relay team got off to a good start at the PVAMU track meet in Texas on Wednesday. The Nigerians won at the event to move within five places of securing a qualification ticket at the Tokyo Olympics set to begin this summer.
According to Leadership, the quartet of Nse Uko Imaobong, Patience Okon-George, Nathaniel Samson, and Sikiru Adeyemi made history as the first Nigerians to dorn the country’s colours in the event. The team also set a new Nigerian record; running in 3:18.53 to win at the event
The Nigerian Mixed Relay team is now 21st behind Germany who presently occupies the 16th qualifying spot, Kenya, France, Czech Republic, and Colombia according to the latest ranking released by World Athletics.
Factional president of AFN, Olamide George, has disclosed his confidence in the team’s potential to qualify for the finals in Tokyo. Olamide expects that the team will qualify for the men and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m events as well as the mixed relay race.
”We are delighted with the performance of the team at the PVAMU meet here in Texas and believe we can do much better in our next race. We now know what we need to do to secure one of the four available slots on offer,” Olamide disclosed. .
Nigeria will need to perform more efficiently in the next phase of qualification. The time to beat is (3:16.85), set by Germany in order to become one of the 16 finalists for the event in Tokyo. The regional president of the AFN Olamide George believes it can be done reminding everyone this is the first time Nigeria would compete at the event.
He commended the minister for youth and sports development, Chief Sunday Dare, for his support for the AFN. ‘’The Minister has been our pillar of strength in this Covid-19 pandemic era and we have keyed into his dream of returning Nigeria to the podium in track and field at the Olympics after 13 long years,” he added.
Veteran athletics coach, Gabriel Okon is also appreciative of the Minister’s support, especially with his adopt-a-talent initiative. ”It has worked wonders. For the first time in recent years, we qualify for the Olympics in a track event in Nigeria. Grace Nwokocha is one of the athletes on the programme and she ran 11.09 seconds in 100m which is about the fastest time by a home-based athlete on Nigerian soil in two decades and 22.79 seconds in the 200m. Both times are better than the Olympics qualification standard set by the World Athletics ”.