Following weeks of uncertainty over which country Paul Dedewo will wear its national colours, the picture is now clearer after the quarter-miler was today named in the US team for the 2017 World Relays in Nassau.
Dedewo who has had an impressive indoor season, seems to have finally done enough to convince the USA Track and Field Association (USATF) to name him in their men’s 4x400m relay that would compete in Bahamas.
This will come as a huge blow to the Nigerian team, after Dedewo tried to switch allegiance last year even coming to compete at the National trials in Sapele but narrowly missing out on the qualification mark to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
It can be viewed as a dream come true for Dedewo who was born in the United States, but also qualifies to represent Nigeria through his parents. He explored the latter option and was already being touted as part of a quartet that could help relaunch Nigeria’s men’s 4x400m relay capabilities, with the event having produced GOLD for Nigeria at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and Bronze at the Athens 2004 Games.
Last year, Dedewo competed at the Warri Relays, teaming up with the trio of Adekunle Fasasi, Chidi Okezie and Miles Ukaoma as they chased qualification for the Olympics, but with the latest development he could now be racing against them in a few days if Nigeria presents a team there.
It is left to be seen how this will pan out for Dedewo much later in the season when the World Championships commences in London. For someone who has a Personal Best(PB) of 45.41s,will he consistently churn out 44s in the 400m to be able to run in the individual event, or will he be content running the relays?
By the way he has already qualified for the World Champs in the 200m having run a PB of 20.40s last week, however he will have to emerge in the top 3 in the US trials to earn that spot.
Meanwhile, the USTAF also named a very strong contingent comprising of Olympic and World medallists to compete in the four relay disciplines: 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m and 4x800m and also the mixed 4x400m.
Notable names like: Justin Gatlin, LaShawn Merritt, Tianna Bartoletta, also two other athletes of Nigerian descent: Morolake Akinosun and Courtney Okolo all form part of a strong US line up. Interestingly, 100m World Junior champion Noah Lyles also made the team and would be making his first senior bow for America competing in the 4x200m relay.