SportsDay
ATHLETICS SPORTS UPDATE

Nigeria men’s 4x100m team runs fastest relay time in over 10 years to secure provisional qualification for World Championships

The Nigeria men’s 4x100m relay team sped to a 38.26 finish to secure a provisional qualification for next month’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The time is the fastest returned by a Nigerian team in over 10 years as the quartet of Favour Ashe, Kayinsola Ajayi, Alaba Akintola and Godson Oghenebrume raised hopes of a possible podium finish in Budapest.

The last recorded time a Nigerian team ran faster was in 2004 when the quartet of Olusoji Fasuba, Uchenna Emedolu, Aaron Egbele and Deji Aliu sped to a 38.23 finish to win a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

With the Warri Relays and Grand Prix event in Asaba the last chance for the team to secure a provisional qualification after three failed attempts in Lome, Togo; Lagos, Nigeria and Cotonou, Republic of Benin, the coaching crew was beefed up with the experienced Tony Osheku and seven-time Nigeria 100m queen, Endurance Ojokolo.

That proved the magic wand needed as the team got the provisional qualification after moving up to joint 14th with Kenya in the 16 team ranking of teams that will run in Budapest.

With the July 31, 2023 deadline for qualification looming, the Nigerian team should feel confident that no team beneath them can overhaul their mark.

With the trio of Nigerian champion, Ushoritse Itshekiri, Seye Ogunlewe and Udodi Onwuzurike returning for the World Championships proper, there is palpable optimism the team will become the second Nigerian men’s 4x100m team to make the podium 26 years after the quartet of Osmond Ezinwa, Olapade Adeniken, Francis Obikwelu and Davidson Ezinwa won a silver medal in Athens, Greece.

The 37.94 Nigerian record the 1997 team ran on the way to winning a silver medal in Athens could also be in danger of being obliterated.

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