2022 Commonealth Games: Dubem Amene leads battle to break 28 year old men’s 400m jinx
The trio of Dubem Amene, Sikiru Adeyemi and Samson Nathaniel will be seeking to break a 28 year old jinx by qualifying for the final of the 400m when the event gets underway Friday evening at the Alexander stadium in Birmingham.
No Nigerian man has qualified for the final of the event since 1994 when Sunday Bada ran 45.45 seconds to win the bronze medal.
The trio of Amene, Adeyemi and Nathaniel will now be hoping to rewrite the unwanted history either collectively or individually when they take to the Alexander stadium track Friday.
First to try will be Amene, the fastest Nigerian over the distance this year.
Amene will run from lane eight in the first semifinal heat while Adeyemi will run from lane one in the second semifinal heat.
Nathaniel, the only other Nigerian after Amene to have dipped inside 46 seconds this season will run from lane three in the third and final semifinal heat and will challenge pre-Games favourite, home boy Matthew Hudson-Smith for one of the two automatic tickets on offer for Saturday’s final.
In the women’s version, Patience Okon-George, the only Nigerian who made it to the semis will be running from lane two in the first heat where she will battlle another ‘Nigerian’ Victoria Ohuruogu, the World Championships 4x400m bronze medallist last month.
Victoria is also the sister of Christine Ohuruogu, the former Olympic and two-time World 400m champion for the automatic tickets to the final.
Okon-George is running in her first semifinal at the Games and will be keen to keep to the tradition of Nigeria producing a finalist since 1990 (save for 2002 and 2006) when Fatimah Yusuf not only made the final but set a new 51.08 seconds African record at the time to win the gold as an U20 athlete.
Yusuf was in the final again in 1994 with Olabisi Afolabi with the former ending as the silver medalist behind Australia’s Cathy Freeman.