2015 World Championships
From left: Funke Oladoye, Tosin Adeloye, Patience Okon-George and Regina George. Photo Credit: Making of Champions/ PaV media

These are trying times for Nigeria’s most consistent relay team in recent years, the women’s 4x400m squad who stood a chance of getting to the podium at next month’s Olympic Games in Brazil.

However that is not to be, following the nullification of most of their results from last year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), due to Tosin Adeloye’s participation in the races.

It will be recalled that the African 400m and 4x400m Junior Champion failed an in-competition test at the 2015 Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) Super Grand Prix in Warri on the 24th of July, and was subsequently banned for eight years by the 1AAF. Consequently, all results (individual and combined) achieved from the time she tested positive, were erased.

Adeloye had been a consistent inclusion in the team last year and competed at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing where the team ran their fastest times of the season. She ran in the heats and final, with Nigeria finishing 5th in the final with 3:25.11.

The team had clocked an impressive time of 3:23.27 in the heats, which is the second fastest time ever by the Nigerian 4x400m women’s team, and would have gotten a medal had they replicated same in the final.

Adeloye was also a part of the GOLD winning team at the 2015 African Games in Brazzaville, and had also set a Personal Best (PB) of 51.24s at the competition, which turned out to be her last outing for Nigeria.

Unfortunately, all the times ran by the team last year have been expunged from the IAAF records, except for their time of 3:31.27 posted on April 10, 2015 in Nairobi. However that wouldn’t count because the qualification period started from May 1st 2015, and ended on July 11th, 2016.

The team had missed out on automatic qualification after failing to make the final at the 2015 World Relays in the Bahamas, where the Top 8 countries automatically qualified for the Olympics. They are USA, Jamaica, Great Britain, France, Poland, Canada, Australia and Brazil.

The only legal race the women’s 4x400m squad competed in this year was at the African Championships in Durban where the quartet of Omolara Omotosho, Regina George, Yinka Ajayi and Patience Okon-George clocked 3:29.94 to win Silver behind South Africa.

This seems to be the result of poor planning by the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) since the IAAF had already ratified Adeloye’s ban as far back as May 2016, leaving the team with a period of about six weeks to get the athletes to compete in other tournaments in order to run faster times.

Relay teams are usually ranked by an aggregate of their two fastest times clocked during the qualification period, and Nigeria initially placed 9th on the list of Top 16 countries to run the relays in Rio according to the rankings released by the IAAF as recently as July 13th, 2016.

As such, the AFN may have felt that the coast was already clear, since the rankings of qualified relay teams  were released at the end of the qualification deadline, giving the impression that all was well. Besides the AFN had waited for the IAAF’s list of qualified countries to be published before releasing the names of athletes that made the Nigerian team to Rio, including the 4x400m women’s team.

Russia was next to Nigeria on the initial rankings, placing 10th on the list. However, due to their ban from the Games by the IAAF, the next eight countries who made it based on time are Ukraine, Italy, Germany, India, Romania and the Netherlands, while Cuba and the Bahamas would be beneficiaries of Nigeria and Russia’s disqualification.

Okon-George, Omotosho and Margaret Bamgbose will be consoled by the fact that they still get to compete in the 400m in Rio, having finished Top 3 at the Nigerian Trials in Sapele earlier this month. The reverse is the case for George and Ajayi who were only listed for the 4x400m, meaning that they will be missing in action in Rio.

It will be particularly heartbreaking for George who was only recently endorsed by Union Bank ahead of the Games. The World Relays 4x200m GOLD medallist would have no other choice than to focus on the 2017 World Championships in London where she will be hoping to make a huge comeback.

It therefore goes without saying that Nigeria will compete in only one relay event in Rio, the women’s 4x100m, as the men’s 4x100m and 4x400m teams were unable to meet the qualifying marks for the Olympics.

Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games, Olympics and World Athletics Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


  1. This current AFN officials are destroying Nigerian athletics and I think they have done enough damage, they should just keep out of sight because they don,t know how to take charge.


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