Moscow 2013 double medallist Blessing Okagbare and sprint hurdler Tobiloba Amusan, will lead a team of 12 athletes to compete at the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London, England, from August 4th to 13th.
Okagbare who will be making her fourth competitive appearance at the IAAF flagship event, will compete in the 100m and Long Jump events. The six-time Nigeria 100m champion won a Long Jump Silver and a 200m Bronze in her second appearance at the championships four years ago in Moscow, Russia.
Amusan, the second fastest Nigerian nay African woman (12.57s) in the sprint hurdles after African Record holder, Glory Alozie (12.44s), will be making her debut in the championships and will compete in the 100m Hurdles.
Others listed for the championships are reigning Commonwealth Games Long Jump queen Ese Brume who will be hoping to leap at least two steps higher than her 5th place finish at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Another debutante Glory Onome Nathaniel will compete in the 400m Hurdles, while the trio of Patience Okon-George, Yinka Ajayi and Margaret Bamgbose will race in the 400m.
Okon-George, a semi-finalist in the event two years ago in Beijing, China will also lead a 4x400m relay quartet comprising of herself, Ajayi, Bamgbose, Emerald Egwin and Abike Egbeniyi.
For the men, home-boy Samson Nathaniel will be making his debut at the championships and will compete in the 400m, while the USA-based duo of Chukwuebuka Enekwachi and Edose Ibadin will also be making their first appearance at the championships.
Enekwachi will be competing in the Shot Put event following his impressive 21.07m throw almost a fortnight ago in Cork, Republic of Ireland, while Edose will compete in the 800m and become in the process, the first Nigerian man to compete in the two full laps race in the history of the championships.
Edose holds a personal Season’s Best (SB) of 1:45.87 which is a Nigerian record and makes him only the second Nigerian to run inside 1:46s in the event.
Conspicuously missing on the list is African Champion in the men’s Triple Jump, Tosin Oke who had been looking forward to retiring after the London Games. Oke’s status as a Continental Champion qualifies him for competition.
The trio of Ugonna Ndu (400m Hurdles), Lindsay Lindley (100m Hurdles) and Stephen Mozia also met the entry standards in their respective events but weren’t included in the team. The reason for their omission hasn’t been stated yet.
Nigeria have won a total of eight medals in the championships made up of four silver medals (Innocent Egbunike in the 400m in 1987; the 4x100m men in 1997; Glory Alozie in the 100m Hurdles in 1999, and Blessing Okagbare in the long jump in 2013), and four bronze medals (Ajayi Agbebaku in the Triple Jump in 1983; the men’s 4x400m team in 1995; Francis Obikwelu in the 200m in 1999 and Blessing Okagbare in the 200m in 2013).