Paris 2024: Nigeria’s 4x400m mixed relay team qualifies for Olympic Games

Paris 2024: Nigeria’s 4x400m mixed relay team qualifies for Olympic Games

Nigeria’s 4x400m mixed relay team has booked a ticket to this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris following their impressive performance at the World Athletics Relays event in Nassau, Bahamas, on Saturday.

Team Nigeria, making their return to the championship after a five-year break, headed to the Bahamas with a star-studded lineup, and the nation was rewarded with its first ticket after the quartet of Samuel Ogazi, Ella Onojuvwevwo, Esther Elo Joseph, and Chidi Okezie finished second in their heat.

Heat 2, which contained heavyweights like reigning World champions the United States, Bahrain, South Africa, and Italy, had only two automatic qualification spots to the Games.

Despite a slow start, Team Nigeria, who won gold at this year’s African Games, maintained second place after the first two legs were run by Ogazi and Onojuvwevwo, respectively. Okezie, who is the reigning African Games 400m champion, ran the fastest overall split of 44.78s, leapfrogging the USA’s Ryan Willie into first place.

However, the Americans wouldn’t back down and anchor their legs. Kendall Ellis zoomed past Nigeria’s Elo-Joseph, who relinquished the lead built by Okezie just after the first 100-meter mark.

“The energy was amazing, said Okezie. “We only had one goal and we put ourselves in a good position. So, we can’t complain.”

The USA eventually finished in first place with a Championships Record (CR) time of 3:11.52; Nigeria placed second, clocking a time of 3:13.79; and South Africa ended third in 3:15.95. Bahrain Did Not Finish (DNF), and Italy settled for fifth place with a season’s best time of 3:15.95.

Nigeria’s second-place finish automatically secures them a berth at the Olympics for the second consecutive time.

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