World Athletics has confirmed the Nigerian women’s 4x100m relay team will participate in the World Athletics Championships which start next week Friday in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
The Nigerian ladies had looked in danger of missing the cut for the championships after the Athletics Integrity Unit, AIU, extended Blessing Okagbare’s ban by one year after the sprinter was found to have committed additional anti-doping rule violations – specifically evading sample collection, and tampering or attempted tampering with the doping
The 42.97 seconds achieved with Okagbare anchoring the team in June 2021 had placed Nigeria in the final qualification spot (16th) for the Championships but the country lost that potential qualification place after the revelation by the AIU.
With the announcement of the ban on June 27, 2002 by the AIU and a day after the close of qualification for the Championships in Oregon, Nigeria slipped from 16th to 17th in the ranking and looked down and out until France provided the lifeline.
The French team had secured qualification for the women’s 4x100m at the World Relays in Poland last year but could not raise a team for the Oregon championships due to injuries and some of the athletes who are expecting babies.
Meanwhile, World Athletics has also confirmed sprinter Seye Ogunlewe and Shot Putter Dotun Ogundeji in Nigeria’s team to the championships.
Ogunlewe who came fourth in the 100m event at the Nigerian Championships which served as trials for the World Championships will run only in the 4x100m relay while Ogundeji, who was at the 22nd African Championships in Mauritius last month will compete in the Shot Put event alongside Chukwuebuka Enekwechi.
With this, Nigeria now has a team of 24 athletes flying her flag at the Championships.