3. Men’s 400m

Rio 2016 Olympics, 2016 AAC
Chidi Okezie was the surprise men’s 400m winner at the 2015 National trials

Within the past year, this has been one of the most competitive events in the country. Prior to last year’s National Championships, Orukpe Erayokan and Nathaniel Samson had been the leading athletes within the country.

But this changed at last year’s National Trials, when very much unknown USA-based Chidi Okezie ran from Lane 8 to become the National Champion.

Chidi Okezie having a look at his Bronze medal
Chidi Okezie having a look at his Bronze medal

This year, Okezie was the only quarter-miler that competed for Nigeria at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, and although he didn’t make it out of his heat, he showed he had some good performances to churn out this year.

He gave one of such performances while making his debut for Nigeria at the African Championships, where he beat reigning African Games Champion Isaac Makwala for the Bronze medal, clocking 45.76s.

Photo Credit: floridagators.com
Photo Credit: floridagators.com

Interestingly, Okezie is only one of the two Nigerian athletes that has clocked a sub-46s this year, the first being University of Florida’s Freshman Adekunle Fasasi who has an SB/PB of 45.43s.

If Fasasi decides to come to Sapele, with Erayokan and Samson still in the mix, not forgetting other home based athletes such as former National Champion Isah Salihu, one can only expect a fast race as all athletes except Erayokan will be aiming to meet the Olympic qualifying mark of 45.40s.


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