Ahead of tomorrow track and field events at the ongoing delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, the Integrity unit of World Athletics (WA) has cleared 12 Nigerian athletes as eligible to compete at the Games.
The athletes are Blessing Okagbare, Ese Brume, Tobi Amusan, Divine Oduduru, Nwokocha Grace, Patience Okon George, Enoch Adegoke, Imaobong Nse Uko, Itsekiri Usheoritee, Enekwechi chuckwuebuka, Emmanuel Ojeli and Samson Nathaniel.
Reigning Nigeria sprint queen Okagbare who is making her fourth appearance at the games will be competing in the women’s 100m heat on Friday.
Also cleared to contest are sprint hurdler, Tobiloba Amusan who is ranked number four in the 100m hurdles; long jumper Ese Brume who tops the world list in her event coming to the Games and Grace Nwokocha, Nigeria-based sensation who clocked 11.09 seconds in March at the MOC Grand Prix in Lagos to seal her qualification for the Tokyo Games. Others are the trio of Divine Oduduru, Enoch Adegoke and Ushoritse Itshekiri who will be competing in the men’s 100m while Oduduru will also race in the 200m, an event he holds the national record of 19.73 seconds which he set two years ago in Austin, Texas in the USA to win the NCAA gold.
Shot putter Chukwuebuka Enekwechi who made it to the event’s final at the World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar in 2019 is also cleared to compete.
The 4x400m mixed relay quartet of Imaobong Nse Uko, Patience Okon-George, Nataniel Samson and Ifeanyi Ojeli are also cleared to compete and will be in action on Friday in the first semifinal heat.
Prince Adeniyi Adisa Beyioku, Secretary General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) says the athletes are in good spirits as they are determined to return Nigeria to the podium for the first time since 2008 when Okagbare and the women’s 4x100m won Nigeria’s last medals in track and field.
Beyioku is happy the 12 athletes have been cleared to compete and assured that the federation will continue to be the goose that lays Team Nigeria’s golden eggs at the Olympics.
Athletics accounts for 13 of the 25 medals won at the Olympics by Team Nigeria and two of the three gold medals.