*AFN names Okagbare, Amusan, 10 others
Sprinter Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and sprint hurdler Tobiloba Amusan will lead a team of 12 athletes to compete at the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World championships in London, England, from 4th to 13th August.
Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, who will be making her fourth competitive appearance at the IAAF flagship event will compete in the 100m and long jump events.
The six-time Nigeria 100m champion won a long jump silver and a 200m bronze in her second appearance at the championships four years ago in Moscow-Russia.
Amusan, the second fastest Nigerian nay African woman (12.57 seconds) in the sprint hurdles after African record holder, Glory Alozie (12.44 seconds) will be making her debut in the championships and will compete in the 100m hurdles.
Others listed for the championships are reigning Commonwealth Games long jump queen, Ese Brume, who will be hoping to leap at least two steps higher than her fifth place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Another debutante, Glory Onome Nathaniel, in the 400m hurdles as well as the quarter-mile troika of Patience Okon-George, Yinka Ajayi and Margaret Bamgbose. They qualified on the strength of the faith in themselves. They sacrificed and got the prize of hardwork. Can they as underdogs in the championship go ahead and shock the world? Let’s see in London.
Their coach, Victor Omagbemi, whose father also coached the Nigerian national team, is reputed to have staked his personal money, time and energy to get his girls to understand why they should achieve the kind of results they eventually got after one of the ‘super stars’ felt too big running with them to qualify for the IAAF World championships in London.
Okon-George was a semi-finalist in the event two years ago in Beijing-China at the 15th edition of the championships will also lead a 4x400m relay quartet comprising of herself, Ajayi, Bamgbose, Emerald Egwin and Abike Egbeniyi.
For the men, home-boy Samson Nathaniel will be making his debut at the championships and will compete in the 400m while the USA-based duo of Chukwuebuka Enekwachi and Edose Ibadin will also be making their first appearance at the championships.
Enekwachi will be competing in the Shot Put event following his impressive 21.07m throw almost a forthnight ago in Cork, Republic of Ireland while Edose will compete in the 800m and become in the process the first Nigerian man to compete in the two full laps race in the history of the championships.
Edose holds a personal season’s best of 1:45.87 which is a Nigerian record and makes him only the second Nigerian to run inside 1:46 seconds in the event.
Nigeria’s outing in the world’s: Nigeria have won a total of eight medals in the championships made up of four silver medals (Innocent Egbunike in the 400m in 1987; the 4x100m men in 1997, Glory Alozie in the 100m hurdles in 1999 and Blessing Okagbare in the long jump in 2013) and four bronze medals (Ajayi Agbebaku in the triple jump in 1983; the men’s 4x400m team in 1995, Francis Obikwelu in the 200m in 1999 and Blessing Okagbare in the 200m in 2013).
With the new vision and drive of the Ibrahim Gusau leadership, he volunteered: “I have a big dream. I am looking forward to when we shall return Nigeria to the height and space of leadership. We shall begin the preparation for the next championships as soon as we return from London. For us, London is a ground for us to experiment and transit. That we shall do.”
THE FULL LIST
DOB: 27 February 1993
Personal Best: 1:45.87
Edose will be making his first competitive bow for Nigeria. He will also be making his first appearance in the championships.
DOB: 28 January 1993
Event: Shot Put
Personal Best: 21.07m
Chukwuebuka will be making his first competitive bow for Nigeria. He will also be making his first appearance in the championships.
SAMSON OGHENEWEGBA NATHANIEL
DOB: 29 August 1997
Personal Best: 45.23
Season’s Best: 45.23
Samson will be making his first trip to the IAAF flagship event after appearing at the IAAF Youth Championships in Donestk, Ukraine in 2013 and the IAAF World Junior Championships in Oregon,USA in 2014.
DOB: 09 October 1988
Event: 100m, Long Jump
Personal Best: 10.79 (100m), 7.00m (Long Jump)
Season’s Best: 10.99 (100m), 6.77m (Long Jump)
Blessing will be making her fourth competitive appearance at the championships after injury forced her out of the 12th edition in Berlin, Germany in 2009. She won a silver medal in the long jump in 2013 and a bronze medal in the 200m in 2013.She ran in the 100m finals in 2011 in Daegu (5th), 2013 in Moscow (7th) and 2015 in Beijing (8th).
DOB: 23 April 1997
Event: 100m Hurdles
Personal Best: 12.57
Season’s Best: 12.57
Rio Olympics semi-finalist Tobi will be making her debut in London at the IAAF senior worlds. She was a finalist in the event at the IAAF World U-20
Championships in Bydgoszcz,Poland where she came fifth.
PATIENCE OKON GEORGE
DOB: 25 November 1991
Event: 400m, 4x400m
Personal Best: 50.71
Season’s Best: 51.06
Reigning Nigeria 400m queen Patience will be making her second competitive appearance in the 400m at the championships. She was a semi-finalist two years ago in Beijing-China
DOB: 11 August 1997
Event: 400m, 4x400m
Personal Best: 51.30
Season’s Best: 51.30
Ajayi will be making her first international bow for Nigeria after she failed to make it to the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz, Poland.
DOB: 19 October 1993
Event: 400m, 4x400m
Personal Best: 51.11
Season’s Best: 51.57
Margaret will be making her 400m debut at the Championship. She was a semi-finalist in the full lap race at the 2016 Rio Olympics
DOB: 27 November 1995
Personal Best: 51.99
Season’s Best: 51.99
USA-based Emerald will be making her first competitive bow for Nigeria in London at the IAAF Worlds.
ABIKE FUNMILOLA EGBENIYI
DOB: 23 October 1994
Personal Best: 52.03
Season’s Best: 52.03
Abike ran 2:02.34, the second fastest 800m race in Nigerian athletics history this year and will be making her debut at the championships as a member of the 4x400m relay team.
DOB: 20 January 1996
Event: Long Jump
Personal Best: 6.83m
Season’s Best: 6.64m
Hugely talented Ese will be making her IAAF World Championships debut in London. She placed fifth (6.81m) in the event last year at the Rio Olympics and is the reigning Commonwealth Games champion.
GLORY ONOME NATHANIEL
DOB: 23 January 1996
Event: 400m Hurdles, 4x400m
Personal Best: 55.90
Season’s Best: 55.90
Former Nigerian youth international Glory will be making her IAAF World Championships debut in London.