Paris 2024 Qualifiers: Nigeria’s fastest man omitted from team for World Athletics Relays

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Nigeria’s fastest man this year, Favour Ashe, will not be part of the 4x100m team competing at the World Athletics Relays in Nassau, Bahamas, which serves as a qualifying event for the Paris 2024 Olympics. This news is significant as the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) has not provided a reason for Ashe’s omission despite his impressive performance this season, having broken the 10-second barrier twice (with times of 9.96 and 9.99 seconds).

Ashe’s absence raises questions, considering his top form this outdoor season. The list of sprinters competing for Nigeria in the men’s 4x100m event at the World Relays includes Godson Oghenebrume and Udodi Onwuzurike, along with Alaba Akintola, Karlingthon Anunagba, Consider Ekanem, Seye Ogunlewe, and Israel Okon Sunday.

Nigeria’s performance in the 4x100m has seen a decline, with the last Olympic berth secured in 2008 when the team did not complete their race in Beijing. The current team aims to be among the top 14 finishers to secure a spot in Paris 2024.

Favour Ashe (right) crosses the finish line during the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

In the men’s 4x400m, the AFN has included eight quarter-milers, with African Games 400m champion Chidi Okezie leading the group. The team also features Sikiru Adeyemi, Dubem Amene, Ezekiel Nathaniel and his brother, Samson Nathaniel, Dubem Nwanchukwu, Samuel Ogazi, and Ifeanyi Ojeli. This team aims to qualify Nigeria for the Olympics in this event for the first time since 2004.

For the women’s 4x100m, sprint hurdler Tobi Amusan and Favour Ofili, Nigeria’s 200m record holder, will lead the team. The list also includes Rosemary Chukwuma, Justina Eyakpobeyan, Tima Godbless, Elo Blessing, and African Games double sprint medalist Olayinka Olajide. The goal is to secure Nigeria’s place in the final eight, a feat last achieved in Brazil.

The women’s 4x400m team will be spearheaded by African Games hero Omolara Ogunmakinju, who has been instrumental in Nigeria’s success in the mixed relay at the African Games in Ghana. Ogunmakinju will be joined by Ella Onojuvwevwo, Elo Joseph, and Patience Okon George, all of whom have run sub-52 seconds in the event this year.

The World Athletics Relays serve as a critical qualifying event for the Paris 2024 Olympics, with the top 14 placed countries automatically qualifying for the relay events. This underscores the importance of Nigeria’s performance in these events, and the absence of a top sprinter like Favour Ashe might pose a challenge to the 4x100m team’s Olympic qualification chances.

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