Bamgbose, Nathaniel others hit World Championships standard!
The 2017 IAAF World Championships which is set to hold between August 4th-13th in London has had many African athletes qualify for the competition majorly from South Africa and Bostwana.
Their Nigerian counterparts have started gaining grounds and a handful of them have hit the standard in their various disciplines. Earlier this year, the likes of Tobi Amusan (12.63s), Lindsay Lindley (12.90s) qualified for the 100m hurdles, Glory Nathaniel (55.90s) and Ugonna Ndu (56.01s) qualified for the 400mh while Blessing Okagbare (22.87s) and Amusan (22.92s) qualified for the 200m.
Last Saturday at the AFN/Dynamic Solutions meet in Abuja, Ajayi Yinka breezed to glory in heat 1 of the women’s 400m with a time of 51.59s to qualify for the second time after running 52.10s to clinch the bronze medal at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku last month.
Following Ajayi steps, fresh from Baku Games, Samson Nathaniel had the overall best time in the men’s 400m stopping the clock in 45.23s to win heat 4 and in the process he qualified for the World Championships. He currently occupies 26th position on the IAAF World list.
As at Saturday, Ajayi and Samson were the only Nigerian quatermilers to qualify but with this scorching times, Bamgbose Margaret executed her first pro race at the IAAF World Challenge in Soa Bernardo de Campo, Brazil wherein she overhauled national champion, Patience Okon and Brazil’s Geisa Aparecida Coutinho in the home straight to win the race in a qualifying time of 51.57s -about .02s faster than Ajayi’s time- to become the second female quatermiler to book a slot in London. Okon finished 3rd with a time of 52.27s, this is about the same time she ran in Grenada, two months ago to win the A Final at Grenada Invitational in 52.26s. She is still looking forward to hit the 52.10s mark.
Blessing Okagbare started her 2017 season with a win in April at Texas where she surpassed the 200m standard in 22.87s ever since then she hasn’t performed at par as she went on to finish 6th in Doha Diamond League in 23.15s and 6th again at the Eugene DL with a mark of 6.52m in the Long Jump.
At the Meeting Pro Athle de Marseille in France on Saturday, Okagbare clinched the 100m title in a winning time of 11.17s to qualify for her fifth consecutive World Championships. The 100m entry standard is pegged at 11.26s and she is the only Nigerian so far to qualify.
More Nigerians are earnestly looking forward to qualify as some athletes are set to leave the shores of Nigeria for an international meet in a quest to hit the qualifying mark for their different events. We wish them the very best!