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Editorials, Sports

Team Nigeria Make Big Strides at World Relays

Team Nigeria went to the World Relays as the underdogs but stunned the world with four worthy Paris Olympic tickets.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 7th May 2024
World Relays

Nigeria’s track and field athletes defied expectations at the World Relays in the Bahamas, securing four out of a possible five qualification spots for the 2024 Paris Olympics. This impressive performance marks a significant improvement for the country’s relay teams and sends a strong message to the global athletics community.


The squads fielded in the Bahamas boasted a strategic blend of youthful talent and seasoned experience. This strategy proved successful, with the athletes overcoming their underdog status and delivering a series of brilliant performances. Notably, Chidi Okezie and Favour Ofili emerged as key figures, leading their respective teams to Olympic qualification in all but one event (women’s 4x400m, where they did not start due to unforeseen circumstances).


Women’s 4x100m: Redemption Through Repechage


The absence of established sprinters Rosemary Chukwuma and Tobi Amusan presented an opportunity for younger athletes to shine. Favour Ofili, currently Nigeria’s fastest female athlete, stepped up to the challenge, showcasing her experience and talent.



The team, comprising Tianna Eyakpobeyan, Ofili, Olajide Olayinka, and Tima Godbless, narrowly missed automatic qualification in the heats, finishing third behind the USA and France. However, they displayed resilience by winning their repechage heat in a new Season’s Best time of 42.71s, securing their place in Paris. Ofili’s exceptional second-leg run, clocking a blistering 10.02 seconds, proved pivotal in their victory.


Men’s 4x100m: Depth on Display Despite Missing Key Runners


Nigeria boasts a wealth of talent in the men’s 100m, with several athletes capable of competing at the highest level. In the Bahamas, a squad featuring Udodi Onwuzurike, Consider Ekanem, Alaba Akintola, Seye Ogunlewe, and Karlington Anunagba showcased this depth despite missing some key names.


While they finished fifth in the automatic qualifying round, they replicated the women’s feat by capitalizing on the repechage opportunity. Anunagba’s strong closing leg ensured their Olympic qualification with a time of 38.57s, placing them behind Ghana.


Mixed 4x400m: Okezie Leads the Charge to a New African Record


Inspired by the determined spirit of Chidi Okezie, the mixed 4x400m relay team secured an automatic qualification spot in the first round. Partnering with Samuel Ogazi, Ella Onojuvwevwo, and Esther Joseph, Okezie’s leadership propelled them to a second-place finish in 3:13.79. In the final, they raised the bar even further, setting a new African Record of 3:12.87 to finish fourth.



This feat earned them a significant financial reward and a place in history, eclipsing the previous African record of 3:13.26 set earlier this year at the African Games.


Men’s 4x400m: A Surprise Return to Olympic Glory


The men’s 4x400m team defied expectations in the Bahamas, emerging as surprise qualifiers for the Paris Olympics. Led by African Games champion Okezie, the quartet of Dubem Nwachukwu, Dubem Amene, and Sikiru Adewale delivered a performance to remember.



Their second-place finish in the qualifying round, clocking a Season’s Best of 3:01.70, marked Nigeria’s fastest time in this event in two decades. This result guarantees their return to the Olympic stage for the first time since Athens 2004, where the team secured a bronze medal.


The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) now faces the crucial task of ensuring these relay teams receive the necessary support to compete at their peak in Paris. High-quality training camps and meticulous preparation will be paramount if Nigeria aims to challenge for medals on the biggest stage.

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