With the Tokyo Olympics qualification deadline around the corner on 29th June 2021, Making of Champions (MoC) will now host the inaugural MoC Relays at the Yaba College of Technology Sports Complex in Lagos, Nigeria, from Saturday 26th–Sunday 27th June 2021, to provide Nigerian & African Athletes seeking Olympic qualification in both their Individual Events and the Relays what may be the final opportunity to do so.

With the cancellation of the African Championships due to the scale and complexity of inviting over 1,000 Athletes from across the continent to Algeria, then Nigeria, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the MoC Relays is set to fill that void at the climax of Olympic qualifying in Africa with a much smaller event with no more than 50-100 Athletes from outside of Nigeria attending, and with a specific focus on the Relays, Sprints, and other select Track & Field Events.

The MoC Relays will feature 24 Athletics Events in total, including 18 Individual (10 Track & 8 Field) Events and 6 Relays – the 5 Olympic Relays (Men’s & Women’s 4x100m and Men’s, Women’s & Mixed 4x400m) and 1 Exhibition Relay (Mixed 2x2x400m). The individual Track Events include men’s & women’s 100m, 200m, 800m, 110m/100m Hurdles and 400m Hurdles, while the Field Events are the men’s and women’s Long Jump, Triple Jump, High Jump and Shot Put.

The MoC Relays is set to be one of the most important competitions in Africa recent memory, particularly for Team Nigeria, given the Olympic qualifying situation of the nation’s five Relay teams. Currently, only Nigeria’s women’s 4x100m Relay is in a qualifying position, occupying the 16th and final slot in that event on the World Athletics  ‘Road to Tokyo’ rankings list, with a time of 43.05s from the Doha 2019 World Championships – a far from unassailable position as the qualification deadline approaches.

Nigeria’s men’s 4x100m and women’s 4x400m are both 17th in their respective events, while the nation’s men’s 4x400m is 20th and mixed 4x400m is 23rd in those events – only the Top 16 in each Relay will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, and there are only 2-4 spots left to confirm in each Relay, after most countries who have already qualified for the Olympic Relays did so automatically by reaching the Relay Finals at the 2019 World Championships or the 2021 World Relays in Poland.

The MoC Relays will follow Nigeria’s Olympic Trials at the same venue on 17th–20th June, which is also set to host a 5-nation Relay, and MoC is in communication with the organizers of the National Trials to ensure a seamless transition for Athletes from the Trials to the MoC Relays. MoC will also work with the incoming President and Board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) who emerge from the AFN Elective Congress on Monday 14th June to ensure a successful MoC Relays. According to MoC Founder/CEO Bambo Akani, all hands are now on deck to ensure all five of Nigeria’s Relay Teams qualify for the Olympics:

“Nigeria is still the giant of Africa when it comes to Olympic Relays – the nation has won 8 Relay medals out of 13 in Track & Field in Olympic history. It simply does not compute that Nigeria would not be represented in the Relays at the Tokyo Olympics, especially with the nation’s most talented generation of Athletes since Atlanta ’96. We have reached out to the General Coordinator of the National Trials to ensure that following their 5-nation Relay, Nigeria and other African nations will have yet another chance to secure their Olympic tickets at the MoC Relays!” 

MoC Competitions have quickly risen in prominence across the African continent since the 1st MoC Grand Prix launched in 2018, with Athletes from across Nigeria and Africa attending each edition. The inaugural MoC Relays will mark the first time that Making of Champions will host three elite World Athletics-recognized Competitions in one year, following the BetKing/3rd MoC Grand Prix in March, and the inaugural AFN/MoC Invitational in May, currently Africa’s 2nd and 8th best Open/Invitational Competitions in 2021, according to their World Athletics performance rankings! Indeed, Nigeria’s Grace Nwokocha & Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala both achieved Olympic 100m qualification at the BetKing/3rd MoC Grand Prix.

The MoC Relays is part of Making of Champions’ continuing efforts to launch the “MoC Athletics Challenge” – a new series of annual competitions designed to provide quality opportunities for Athletes across Nigeria and Africa to qualify for International Competitions such as the Olympics in 2021, and the World Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2022 and beyond!

Event Schedule & Entries for Athletes/Teams

According to the MoC Relays Schedule, any National 4x100m Teams attending will get two bites of the cherry, with 4x100m Semi-Finals on Day 1 & Finals on Day 2 of the Event, while the Mixed 4x400m Final takes centre stage on Day 1, with the men’s & women’s 4x400m Finals on Day 2. Athletes will also have the opportunity to qualify automatically or improve their World Rankings for Olympic qualification in their individual Events, particularly with the Semi-Finals of the Sprints (100m & 200m) on Day 1 and the Finals on Day 2.

Interested Athletes must register online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MoCRelays by Monday 21st  June, to be considered for invitation for their individual events, the standards for which are listed in the online registration (the full list of invited Athletes will be published by Tuesday 22nd June).

In addition, interested Teams (Countries, Clubs, States, etc) who wish to enter the Relays should send their Team Lists to [email protected] also by Monday 21st June. Each Team may consist of no more than 24 Athletes for the 5 Olympic Relay Events – 12 Sprinters (6 men & 6 women) for Men’s & Women’s 4x100m and 12 Quarter-Milers (6 men & 6 women) for Men’s, Women’s & Mixed 4x400m.

Any Athletes or Teams requiring one can download our Official Invitation Letter for the MoC Relays.

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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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