Nigeria’s 6th Global Relay Medal was also the 2nd and last Relay Medal that Team Nigeria has won at the World Championships. The men’s 4x100m Silver that Nigeria won at Athens ’97 was during an era that both Canada and indeed Nigeria were still forces in global sprinting. Team Nigeria’s quartet of Osmond Ezinwa, Olapade Adeniken, Francis Obikwelu and Davidson Ezinwa finished 2nd to a Canadian team that was anchored by the 1996 Olympic 100m Champion, Donovan Bailey. Nigeria had the lead briefly as the anchor leg runners entered the final straight,but Bailey overhauled Davidson Ezinwa to win Canada’s third straight 4×100 metre global title (after Gothenburg ’95 World Championships and Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games)! This time, we have to make do with watching the Nigeria team in the shadows of the coverage of Team Canada:
The Ezinwa twins and Adeniken were surviving members of the class of ’92 that won the Olympic Silver medal behind the then World Record set by the Carl Lewis-anchored Team USA. Obikwelu was the new member of the quartet who helped to usher in another generation of great sub-10 runners for Nigeria, from 1997 to 2004. Sadly for Nigeria, Obikwelu would go on to switch to Portugal in 2001, and eventually won an Olympic Silver medal for them at Athens 2004! His story is chronicled in the upcoming feature-length documentary, Making of Champions: “The History”.
The World Relays is a new annual competition (the 1st edition being held in The Bahamas on May 24th/25th), where the world’s best Track & Field nations will compete over 10 different events – 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m & 4x1500m (both men and women). There is a total prize fund of $1.4 million up for grabs, and for the 4x100m & 4x400m, the 2014 World Relays will serve as the qualifiers for the 2015 World Championships (as will the 2015 World Relays for the 2016 Olympics). For viewers in Nigeria and Africa, the World Relays will show LIVE on SuperSports on May 24th/25th – more details soon!