Edo 2020 National Sports Festival fastest man, Enoch Adegoke and quater-milers Nse Uko Imaobong and Patience Okon-George will have another chance to crack the 10.05 seconds (100m) and 51.35 seconds (400m) qualification standard for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when they file out at the 2021 USTAF Open meet in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday.
The trio will lead a couple of other Nigerian athletes currently on training and qualification tour in the United States of America as the countdown to the June 29 deadline for qualifying for the Games begins.
Adegoke is the fastest home based Nigerian so far this season with his 10.16 performance in January in Akure which topped the World List for a few weeks. He is also the second fastest Nigerian behind Divine Oduduru who leads the ranking with the 10.05 seconds he ran last month in the United States.
Adegoke needs to match Oduduru’s national top list performance or run faster to qualify for the 100m event in Tokyo. He will get the chance to seal his passage to the Olympics at the Dallas meeting.
Also seeking to make it to Tokyo are Nse Uko and Okon-George, the two fastest Nigerian quarter-milers this year. While Nse Uko who won the Edo 2020 Festival with a new 51.70 seconds personal best will be aiming to run a sub 51 seconds for the first time in her career and in the process crack the 51.35 qualifying barrier in front of her, Okon-George, a veteran quarter-miler will also be aiming to run faster than the 51.84 seconds she ran last year at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Test The Track Meeting in Benin City in March 2020.
Sprinters Jerry Jakpa and Joy Udo-Gabriel will also get the chance to run new lifetime bests that will be required to sneak into the event in Tokyo. Jakpa ran 10.33 seconds at the Edo 2020 Festival to place third in the blue ribband race but knows he has to perform a miracle on Tuesday and match Oduduru’s 10.05 seconds personal season’s best to qualify.
Udo-Gabriel who finally raced under 11.4 (11.34) at the Festival will need to continue with that momentum and run 11.15 to secure her passage to the quadrennial Games and join the duo of Blessing Okagbare and Grace Nzube Nwokocha who are both Tokyo-bound.
Sikiru Adeyemi, Ifeanyi Ojeli, Nathaniel Samson and Chidi Okezie are also expected to perform miracles by becoming the first Nigerians to run break 45 seconds in six years after Orukpe Erayokan last did in September 2015. The qualifying standard is 44.90 seconds.
None of the quartet is close to the mark with Okezie the fastest courtesy of the 45.60 he ran to win the 400m gold at the Edo Sports Festival.
He is joined by Adeyemi (45.93) and Ojeli (45.99) as the only three Nigerians who have broken 46 seconds in the event this year.
The full focus for the Nigerians in Dallas will be on their respective individual events as the relays are not included in the schedule