The Integrity unit of World Athletics has cleared 12 Nigerian athletes as eligible to participate fully at the Tokyo Olympics.
Reigning Nigeria sprint queen and 100/200 Metres record holder, Blessing Okagbare tops the list of those to compete in the athletics event of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics which begins on Friday.
Okagbare who is making her fourth appearance at the games will be competing in the women’s 100 metres heat on Friday.
Also cleared to contest are sprint hurdler, Tobiloba Amusan who is ranked number four in the 100 Metres hurdles; long jumper Ese Brume who tops the world list in her event coming to the games and Grace Nwokocha, the home-based sensation who clocked 11.09 seconds in March at the MOC Grand Prix in Lagos to seal her qualification for the Tokyo Games.
Others are the trio of Divine Oduduru, Enoch Adegoke and Ushoritse Itshekiri who will be competing in the men’s 100 Metres while Oduduru will also race in the 200 Metres, an event he holds the national record of 19.73 seconds which he set two years ago in Hustin, Texas in the USA to win the NCAA gold.
Shot putter Chukwuebuka Enekwechi who made it to the event’s final at the World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar in 2019 is also cleared to compete.
The 4×400 Metres mixed relay quartet of Imaobong Nse Uko, Patience Okon-George, Nataniel Samson and Ifeanyi Ojeli are also cleared to compete and will be in action on Friday in the first semifinal heat.
Prince Adeniyi Adisa Beyioku, Secretary-General of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria says the athletes are in good spirits as they are determined to return Nigeria to the podium for the first time since 2008 when Okagbare and the women’s 4×100 Metres won Nigeria’s last medals in track and field.
Beyioku is happy the 12 athletes have been cleared to compete and assured that the federation will continue to be the goose that lays Team Nigeria’s golden eggs at the Olympics.
Athletics accounts for 13 of the 25 medals won by the country at the games and two of the three gold medals.
(Editor: Ena Agbanoma)