Nigeria’s relay quartet of Johnson Nnamani, Imaobong Nse Uko, Opeyemi Oke and Bamidele Ajayi celebrate on teh podium after receiving their gold medals at the World Athletics U20 Championship, in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by Collins Enahoro.
…Relay team sets new championship record
Team Nigeria lived up to pre-race billings as the 4x400m mixed relay team won the gold medal in a new championship record time of 3:19.70.
The quartet of Johnson Nnamani, Imaobong Nse Uko, Opeyemi Oke and Bamidele Ajayi also made history as the first winners of the event at the World Athletics U20 Championship, beating Poland (3:19.80) and India (3:20.60) to second and third spots, respectively.
Team Nigeria made one change to the quartet that ran a then championship record of 3:21.66 in the semi-final by bringing in Uko, the fastest girl in the 400 metres heading into the championships, and the 17-year-old didn’t disappoint as she handed over the baton to third leg runner, Oke in first position.
Uko has also qualified for the individual 400m final scheduled for Saturday and stands as the favourite to restore Nigeria as World Athletics U20 Championships 400m champions since Bisi Afolabi succeeded Fatimah Yusuf as queen of the quartermile in 1994 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Meanwhile the duo of Godson Oghenebrume and Praise Ofokwu qualified for the 100m men and women’s final.
Oghenebrume ran 10.22 seconds to win his semi-final heat while Ofoku was also first in her semis heat, clocking 11.57.
In the men’s javelin throw, Team Nigeria’s Chinecherem Nnamdi threw a massive new personal best and Nigeria U20 record of 78.03 meters to qualify for the final.
The 19 year old 2019 African Games bronze medal winner added almost 5cm to his previous best of 73.24m to jump to the queue as one of the favourites for the gold medal.
Nigeria has not won a medal in the event at the World U20 Championships and Chinecherem could make history when the final is held on Friday.