The women’s 4x100m relay quartet of Rosemary Chukwuma, Joy Udo-Gabriel, Grace Nwokocha and Favour Ofili’s bid to become the first women’s relay team to win a World Championships medal will begin in the early hours of Saturday at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, venue of the ongoing 18th World Athletics Championships.
No Nigerian women’s relay team (4x100m and 4x400m) has made it to the podium since the inaugural edition of the championships in 1983 with the 4x100m team coming closest with two fourth place finishes (42.77 seconds in 1991 and 42.52 seconds in 2001) while the 4x400m team placed fifth on four ocassions (3:24.45 in 1991, 3:28.55 in 2009, 3:27.57 in 2013 and 3:26.72 in 2017).
The women’s 4x100m team which will be led by Ofili, the fastest Nigerian woman over the 100m (10.93) and 200m (21.96) events this year has been drawn in the same semifinal heat as USA, Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland.
The Nigerian team will be gunning for one of the three automatic tickets on offer for a place in the final with USA, with three athletes who have gone under 10.90 seconds this year the favourite to cross the finish line fast.
Ofili and his teammates rank second in terms of talent as three of the four athletes Nigeria will parade have broken 11 seconds this year, an unprecedented achievement by the sprinters.
Nwokocha, semifinalist in he 100m and 200m events and Chukwuma who made the semifinal of the 200m ran 10.97 seconds and 10.99 seconds respectively in the American collegiate circuit.
The Nigerians will first be seeking to return the team to the final 11 years after the quartet of Gloria Asumnu, Oludamola Osayomi, Agnes Osazuwa, Blessing Okagbare ran 42.93 seconds to place seventh at the 13th edition of the championships in Daegu, South Korea..