The Yaba College of Technology Sports Complex, Lagos, will be a beehive of activities again as athletes across Africa will be making another push for qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the Paga/MoC Relays.
According to the organisers, over 250 athletes including those from Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal are registered for the one-day meet which would serve as the last qualification window for most of the athletes.
The Ministry of Sports and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) have confirmed that Team Nigeria will be attempting to secure Olympic qualification in both the men’s 4x100m and Mixed 4x400m.
This will be the third attempt within a week for the relay teams after unsuccessful attempts at both the National Trials and Lagos Open Championships.
Last Thursday, the men’s 4x100m team which was made up of the quartet of Enoch Adegoke, Usheoritse Itsekiri, Jerry Jakpa and Godson Brume ran a season’s best of 38.59secs at the Lagos Open Championships.
The team would however need to run faster than 38.46secs to boost their chance of qualification for the Olympics.
Already, the country’s women’s 4x100m led by Blessing Okagbare and the 4x400m team anchored by Patience Okon-George have both qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. The two women’s relay team sealed their places in Tokyo with their performances at the National Trials and Lagos Open Championships respectively.
Nigeria won a silver medal in the women’s 4x100m in Beijing 2008 with the likes of Franca Idoko, Gloria Kemasoude, Agnes Osazuwa, Halimat Ayinde and Oludamola Osayomi.
The women initially won a bronze medal but were upgraded to the second spot after Russia’s doping violation was spotted.
The country also won a silver medal in the 4x400m women’s event 25 years ago at the Atlanta Olympics where Falilat Ogunkoya led Charity Opara, Bisi Afolabi and Fatimah Yusuf set a new 3:21.04 seconds African record.
Interestingly, Sunday’s Paga/MoC Relays is holding on the very first day of the 2022 World Championships qualification window.
As such, any athlete who runs the Olympic Standard in their individual events at the one-day meet will also automatically qualify for the Oregon 2022 World Championships in the USA as well as the Tokyo Olympics next month.
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