2024 Olympics: How Team Nigeria picked four tickets in Bahamas

Nigerian athletes defied the odds to achieve incredible feats at the 2024 World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas last weekend.

Nigerian athletes—men and women’s teams—showed signs of what was to come on the first day of the competition, when they won two tickets. The team accomplished the mission on Sunday night, picking two more tickets in the 4x100m relay of the men and women’s categories—after initially falling short the previous night.

The feat means the men’s team will be returning to the Olympics since Beijing 2008, while the women are guaranteed their ninth consecutive appearance.

The women set the ball rolling after securing a passage to Paris with the 4x100m team led by Nigeria’s 200m indoor and outdoor record holder, favour Ofili.

Tobi Amusan—World Record holder in the 100m hurdles, could not make the trip to the Caribbean nation, but Ofili filled her void effectively, as she ran the race of her life in the second leg to push Nigeria into a great position complemented by reigning National Sports Festival double sprint champion, Tima Godbless, anchoring home in first position (42.71) ahead of Switzerland, who picked the second automatic ticket in the third qualifying heat.

Unarguably, the women inspired the men who had to run without two of the country’s best sprinters at the competition—Ashe Favour and Godson Brume. Udodi Onwuzurike, Ekanem Emmanuel, Alaba Akintola and Karlington Anunagba who replaced Seye Ogunlewe, ensured they did not fall twice as they coasted home in second place (38.57) behind Ghana (38.29), to pick the second automatic ticket to Paris.

On Saturday, May 4—the first day of the World Athletics Relays, Nigeria had picked two tickets in the men’s 4x400m and the mixed relay, in which Chidi Okezie played the hero.

Chief Tonobok Okowa, President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), was extremely delighted with the performance of the athletes.

“I am so glad our athletes got the four tickets in Bahamas,” Okowa told AFN Media after the men’s 4x100m, comprising Udodi Onwuzurike, Ekanem Emmanuel, Alaba Akintola and Karlington Anunagba picked the ticket to the Games. I salute the athletes, the coaches, my board members, sport’s ministry officials and all those who made this victory in Bahamas possible,” Okowa said.

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