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Editorials, Sports

Team Nigeria’s Rollercoaster Ride at the World Relays

Team Nigeria’s World Relays campaign started strong: both the mixed and men’s 4x400m teams secured Paris 2024 Olympic qualification.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 5th May 2024
World Relay

The first day of the World Relays in the Bahamas proved a mixed bag for Team Nigeria, with the highlight being Chidi Okezie’s stellar performance leading both the mixed and men’s 4x400m squads to Olympic qualification for Paris 2024.


In the mixed 4x400m, the quartet of Samuel Ogazi, Ella Onojuvwevwo, Okezie, and Esther Elo Joseph displayed tactical brilliance, finishing second in 3:13.79 to secure their Olympic ticket. Ogazi clocked 45.69s, followed by Onojuvwevwo in 50.45s, Okezie’s impressive 44.78s, and Joseph bringing it home in 52.87s. The USA quartet set a Championship Record of 3:11.52, while South Africa came third in 3:15.75.


Less than two hours later, Okezie returned for the men’s 4x400m, once again delivering an outstanding anchor leg.


Samuel Ogazi, Ella Onojuvwevwo, Esther Joseph, and Chidi Okezie punched their Paris tickets in the mixed 4x400m


The African Games 400m champion led a spirited charge alongside Dubem Nwachukwu, Dubem Amene, and Sikiru Adewale, finishing second in a Season’s Best of 3:01.70 – Nigeria’s fastest time in twenty years. Belgium won the heat in an SB of 3:00.09, while Jamaica placed third in 3:02.46.


This achievement marks a significant return to the Olympic stage for Nigeria’s 4x400m teams, who will compete in Paris for the first time since Athens 2004, where the squad anchored by Enefiong Udo-Obong secured a bronze medal.


However, the story wasn’t as bright for the Nigerian men’s and women’s 4x100m relay teams, who both missed out on automatic Olympic qualification by finishing outside the top two in their respective heats.


The women’s team of Tinna Eyakpobeyan, Favour Ofili, Olayinka Olajide, and Tima Godbless settled for third place in 43.15s, behind the USA (42.21s) and France (43.09s).


Similarly, the men’s team finished fifth in 38.49s despite a strong start from Udodi Onwuzurike and Consider Ekanem. While they handed the baton over in a promising second position, Alaba Akintola and Seye Ogunlewe were unable to maintain the lead.


Both 4x100m teams still have a chance to redeem themselves in the repechage on Day 2, where they will fight for the top two positions in their heats to make the final top 14 and potentially secure a last-minute Olympic berth.


Meanwhile, the mixed and men’s 4x400m squads will return on Day 2 for the finals, aiming to build upon their success and potentially secure a medal to cap off an outstanding World Relays campaign.


It’s worth noting that the women’s 4x400m team did not start due to the unavailability of a complete squad.

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