By Olawale Ayeni, Abuja
Ahead of the 2021 World Athletics Relays in Poland, Coach and Statistician under the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Olalekan Soetan, has assured Nigerians of five Olympics qualification tickets at the end of the competition.
Team Nigeria will slug it out with 46 other countries in the Men 4x100m and 4x400m, Women 4x100m and 4x400m, and 4x400m mixed as they seek to better their previous performance at the global athletics showpiece.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP sports ahead of the event scheduled to run from Saturday, May 1 to Sunday May 2, 2021, Coach Soetan expressed confidence in Team Nigeria’s flag-bearers to deliver five Olympic tickets at the end of the event.
“We should be expecting final placements in almost all the five events Nigeria entered for. I believe the objective of the federation is to qualify Nigeria’s relay teams for the Tokyo Olympics first and foremost.
“Three of the teams are in the qualification quota of best 16 teams on the Ranking list. 4x100m women, 4x100m men and 4x400m women. The 4x40m men with 3min03.42s effort at Rabat African games in 2019 is ranked 18th. The 4x400m mixed has never been attempted by a Nigerian team at the international stage.
He further urged the AFN under the leadership of Engr. Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau ensured that the Nigerian contingent arrived in Poland in good time for proper preparation ahead of the commencement of the events.
According to him, “Hopeful our teams get to Silesia by 28th and be in good spirits to deliver the aforementioned. Obviously, they are not prepared for this competition. My final take is five Olympics qualifiers and any medal would be a bonus.”
Recall that during the 2019 IAAF World Relays held in Yokohama, Japan, only the 4x200m men team made it to the final with a new Nigerian record. And got disqualified in the final for lane infringement.