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World championships: Nathaniel makes PB, history in 400m hurdles semis

Glory Onome Nathaniel Monday evening at the Olympic stadium in London made it a dream IAAF World Championships debut as she ran a new personal best of 55.30 seconds to qualify for the semi-final of the women’s 400m hurdles.

The Nigerian, drawn in lane 3 of the fifth and final heat of the first round was impressive as she placed third to pick one of the four automatic slots on offer for a place in Tuesday’s semi-final.

She has thus become the fifth Nigerian woman after Maria Usifo (1987), Omolade Akinremi (1995), Muizat Ajoke Odumosu (2009 and 2011) and Amaka Ogoegbunam  (2009) to qualify for the semi-final of the event.

No Nigerian has made it to the final of the event in the history of the championships.

Meanwhile, reigning African triple jump champion, Tosin Oke Monday at the Olympic stadium in London failed to hop, step and jump into the final of the event on Day 4 of action at the 16th IAAF World Championships.

Oke, finalist at the 15th edition of the championships two years ago in Beijing, China jumped 16.17m, 83cm short of the 17.00m qualifying mark set for the event and will now watch the final as a spectator on Thursday night.

The performance was the former British junior international’s worst since he made his debut at the championships in 2009 in Berlin, Germany. There he jumped 16.87m which fetched him the 16th spot in the final ranking and only 9cm short of making the final.

He failed to show up in 2013 but jumped his way into the final two years later before placing eighth in the final classification.

Nigeria’s former sprint queen, Chief Mary Onyali, has praised the efforts of the nation’s troika: Yinka Ajayi, Patience Okon-George and Margaret Bamgbose who qualified for the women’s 400m semi-finals at the ongoing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London.

Onyali who is in London said, “frankly, this world championship is not and cannot be used to assess or blame the Ibrahim Gusau board nor the athletes. Though, this is a good timing and opportunity to wake the board to the reality that our sport is very sick and needs urgent surgery.”

For me, the three quarter milers like Glory Onome Nathaniel who made a Personal Best is good enough for us now.

The take home from London is that the athletes now realise they have new people at the helms who will think of and with them. They got great moral support and commendations for their current efforts. Getting personal bests and the experience is great and good for them. I do not and will not expect medals. If it comes great. With the kind of knowledge the athletes have with the Gusau board here in London, it is obvious that more are in the offing. Everyone of us now realise there are greater things to happen in the nearest future.

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