2018 Commonwealth Games 4x100m bronze medalist Joy UdoGabriel must overcome a formiable obstacle in the form of reigning Olympics double sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, home girl Asha Philip and Trinidad and Tobago‘s Michelle-Lee Ahye as she bids for her first global 100m final appearance.
The Nigerian ran a new 11.43 seconds personal season’s best to qualify for Wednesday’s semifinal but needs to run a massive lifetime best to realise her dream.
The 23 year old can draw inspiration from teenage sensation Tima Godbless who scorched to a new 11.09 seconds Nigeria U20 record Tuesday at the World U20 Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia.
While it may not be smooth sailing for the pretty Udo-Gabriel, reigning Nigeria fastest woman Grace Nwokocha and former African Youth and U20 champion Rosemary Chukwuma are expected to qualify for the final.
Nwokocha, the Olympics and World Championships semifinalist ran the joint fastest time (10.99s) in the first round heats to qualify for the semis and looks good enough to hit her first major global final.
Chukwuma was also impressive in the first round, winning her heat in 11.02 seconds and should also be in the final later Wednesday evening at the Alexander stadium in Birmingham.
Nwokocha has been drawn in the first of three semifinal heats and will battle for the two automatic tickets with Remona Burchell of Jamaica who ran 11.46 seconds to come second in heat 7 in the first round and home girl Imani Lansiquot who ran 11.15 seconds to place second in heat two.
Chukwuma will run in the third semifinal heat and has Nathalia Whyte of Jamaica who ran 11.31 seconds to win heat 6 in the first round and home girl, Daryl Neita, winner of heat three (11.02s) of the first round heats to contend with for a place in the final.
The Nigerian trio will be hoping who amongst them will become the third Nigerian woman to win the 100m gold after Mary Onyali and Blessing Okagbare.
They will need to get past the semifinal hurdles first before they can start dreaming of a first global podium appearance in an individual event.