After a disappointing Day 2 for Nigerian athletes participating at the IAAF World Championships in London, it wasn’t all doom and gloom on Day 3 of the competition.
The quartermile trio of Yinka Ajayi, Margaret Bamgbose and Patience Okon-George all made it through to the semifinal of the women’s 400m.
Under the scorching sun of the London Olympic Stadium, Yinka Ajayi was the first on the track for Team Nigeria as she lined up in Heat 2. Running on the outside lane, the athlete had a blistering start and kept the pace up until the 180m mark.
At that point, Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo began to dominate and led through to the finish line. Ajayi, however, was able to stay composed enough to finish 3rd in a time of 51.58s.
Also, Okon-George made it back to back semifinals for herself in the championships. The 2016 African Bronze medallist dominated the race leading up until the home straight before the long legs of Quanera Hayes overtook her. She nonetheless was able to hang on to finish 2nd in the race, crossing the line in a time of 51.83s.
Margaret Bamgbose however, was the fastest of the Nigerian trio as she ran a Season’s Best (SB) of 51.57s to finish 3rd in Heat 6. 2011 World Champion Amantle Montsho came in 2nd, running an SB of 51.37s with Jamaica’s Chrisann Gordon crossing the line 1st in 51.14s.
The women’s 400m semifinal comes up on Monday, August 7th.
Moscow 2013 double medallist Blessing Okagbare was the last Nigerian on the track and competed in the third semifinal of the women’s 100m. She lined up against stellar athletes like Rio 2016 Silver medallist Tori Bowie and African Record holder, Murielle Ahoure amongst others.
Running in Lane 5, the Nigerian was up on the shoulders of Tori Bowie until the 30m point. Bowie however left Okagbare chasing after her as she breezed away to win the race in 10.91s. Ahoure came 2nd in 10.99s while Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago finished 3rd as she qualified as one of the fastest losers.
Okagbare was looking to qualify for her fourth consecutive appearance in the 100m final after making it in 2011, 2013 and 2015 at the World Championships in Daegu, Moscow and Beijing respectively.
The Beijing 2008 Long Jump Silver medallist will now set her sights on the event that brought her to the limelight, as well as the women’s 4x100m relay.