Nigeria’s hopes of presenting three finalists in the women’s 400m at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Australia, was dealt a blow on Monday after two of the country’s three contenders, Patience Okon-George and Folashade Abugan were disqualified for lane violations, leaving Yinka Ajayi as the sole semifinalist for Nigeria.

First on the track was Abugan who is making her fourth appearance at the Commonwealth Games. The 2014 African Champion competed in Heat 2 alongside defending champion, Stephenie Ann McPherson who dominated the race to win in 50.80s as Zoey Clark followed in 52.07s. Abugan finished 3rd in a then Season’s Best (SB) 52.29s but was subsequently disqualified.

Three-time Nigerian Champion Okon-George dominated Heat 4 from start to finish and crossed the line 1st in 51.76s, with home girl Anneliese Rubie following in 52.32s as Botswana’s Galefele Moroko was inspired to a Personal Best (PB) of 53.28s in 3rd place. However, the Nigerian was also disqualified, and will now set her sights on the relays.

Ajayi, who improved on her PB, setting a time of 51.22s last month, made an impressive Commonwealth Games debut as she was the woman to beat in Heat 5, coming from behind to finish ahead of Botswana’s Christine Botlogetswe in a time of 51.71s as the latter clocked a PB of 51.73s in 2nd place.

Ajayi will file out for the semis on Tuesday.

Yemi Olus 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 and IAAF World Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


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