Team Nigeria’s 4x400m Mixed Relay team got off to a good start at the PVAMU track meet in Texas on Wednesday, running a new 3:18.53 Nigerian record to win the event and move to within five places of sealing a spot in the event at the Tokyo Olympics.
The quartet of Nse Uko Imaobong, Patience Okon-George, Nathaniel Samson and Sikiru Adeyemi made history as the first quartet to don the country’s colours in the event.
The team, according to the latest ranking released by World Athletics are now 21st behind Germany who presently occupy the 16th qualifying spot, Kenya, France, Czech Republic and Colombia.
Olamide George, acting president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria is confident the team would qualify for not just the mixed relay event but also the men and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m events.
“We are delighted with the performance of the team at the PVAMU meet here in Texas and believe we can do much better in our next race. We now know what we need to do to secure one of the four available slots on offer,” George said.
Nigeria will need to better the time ran by Germany (3:16.85) to become one of the 16 finalists for the event in Tokyo and George believes it can be done.
Athletics coach Gabriel Okon is also appreciative of the sports ministry’s support especially with his adopt-a-talent initiative.
“It has worked wonders. For example we have, for the first time in recent memory qualified for the Olympics in a track event in Nigeria. “Grace Nwokocha is one of the athletes on the programme and she ran 11.09 seconds in the 100m which is about the fastest time by a home based athlete on Nigerian soil in over two decades and 22.79 seconds in the 200m. Both times are better than the Olympics qualification standard set by World Athletics.”