All eyes are now on the duo of sprint hurdler Tobiloba Amusan and long jumper Ese Brume for podium appearances following the inability of the sprint quartet of Udodi Onwuzurike, Favour Ofili, Grace Nwokocha and Rosemary Chukwuma to get past the semifinal stage of the 200m event early Wednesday morning.
The quartet’s exit effectively leaves the hopes for at least an individual medal at the hands of Amusan and Brume who will begin their bid for a place at the podium on Saturday.
Both are strong favourites to get to the final of the 100m hurdles and long jump respectively.
Amusan, the reigning African Games, African Championships, Commonwealth Games and Diamond League champion is the fourth fastest woman (12.41) over the 100m hurdles this year behind world leader and world record holder, Kendra
Harrison of the USA who ran 12.34 seconds to win the US Championships last month, Alaysha Johnson also of the USA who was second at the same championships (12.35) and reigning Olympic champion, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico who ran 12.37 seconds to win at the Diamond League meeting in Rome, Italy early last month.
The 25 year old Amusan was fourth in the event three years ago at the 17th edition of the championships in Doha, Qatar, the same position she repeated last year at the Tokyo Olympics.
The reigning Nigeria 100m hurdles queen is seen as one of the contenders for any of the three medals on offer and will become the second Nigerian after Glory Alozie to win a medal at World Athletics’ flagship event.
Alozie ran 12.44 seconds to equal her then African record to win the silver medal at the championships’ seventh edition in Seville, Spain in 1999.
While Amusan will be seeking to win her first world championships medal, Brume will be hoping to become the first Nigerian to win at least a medal in consecutive editions of the competition after winning a bronze medal three years ago in Doha.
The 26 year old Brume who owns the Nigeria and African record in the event at 7.17m has proved to be a bid occasion athlete and has not failed to make the podium in any global event since that bronze medal win in Doha.
She won a bronze medal last year at the Tokyo Olympics and a silver medal at the World Indoor Championships in Serbia in March.
With her silver medal win in Serbia, Brume will be seeking to become the second Nigerian after Alozie to win a medal at the World Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the same year.
Alozie ran 7.87 seconds to win the silver medal in the 60m event at the World Indoor Championships in Maebashi, Japan in March 1999 before racing to another silver medal finish at the outdoor version in Seville later that year.
Another Nigerian who will also compete in the long jump event is Ruth Usoro.
The 24 year old will be making history as the first Nigerian woman to participate in the long and triple jump at a single edition of the championships.
The Texas Tech university student failed to make the final of her preferred event, the triple jump after finishing 12th in her qualifying group (13.93m).
The former NCAA triple jump champion will however be hoping for at least a repeat event of her trip to Serbia for the World Indoor Championships where she placed eighth in the final classification.
While Brume is ranked sixth so far this year in the world’s top list with the 6.92m personal season’s best she jumped middle of last month in Bern, Switzerland, Usoro is ranked 17th after her 6.78m leap last May in Lubbock, Texas.