SPORT

World Championships:Team Nigeria return empty-handed

Blessing-Okagbare2

Kenya have emerged as the winners of the 2015 IAAF World Championships which ended in Beijing on Sunday. The east African nation amassed seven gold, six silver and three bronze medals to top the medals log.

Jamaica and USA are second and third respectively. The Usain Bolt-inspired Jamaicans finished with seven gold, two silver and three bronze, while USA had six gold, six silver and six bronze. Great Britain are fourth with four gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

Ethiopia are the other African nation in the top 10 as they occupy fifth spot with three gold, three silver and two bronze medals.

Nigeria failed once again to make any impact at the events as they return home empty handed. The nation’s 14-year medal drought was ended in 2013 when Blessing Okagbare won bronze in Moscow. But the team could not capitalise on her success as each of the athletes failed one after another to dominate their respective events.

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On Sunday, Nigeria’s 4x400m women’s relay team could only finish fifth in 3:25.11 as Jamaica, USA and Great Britain took the gold, silver and bronze respectively.

The quartet of Regina George, Funke Oladoye, Tosin Adeloye and Patience Okon-George ran the second fastest time in the semi-finals but failed to repeat their feat in the final.

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The country’s 4x100m relay team had failed to qualify for the final on Saturday when they finished last in the heat in 43.89 seconds. A team without leading sprinter Okagbare, who was injured last week.

National women’s 100m champion, Gloria Asunmu, who led the 4x100m relay team in Beijing, in the absence of Okagbare, blamed the Athletic Federation of Nigeria for the poor showing.

“I’m not disappointed we couldn’t scale through (the heat) because this is what you get when you don’t prepare,” Complete Sports quoted Asumnu as saying.

“The federation should always be prepared; put people in charge who know what they are doing. Up till the national trials in Warri Maurice Green had been our coach.

“But when we got here (in Beijing), we found out he is not. The team bonding and chemistry we had under him was destroyed. Everyday what we have been having here is confusion. This is not how to prepare for world championships. This is embarrassing,”

Former Nigeria sprinter and Africa’s fastest man, Olusoji Fasuba, wrote on Facebook that the problem with Nigerian athletes was the lack of fund for training.

“I have been saying this since 2008 or 2009 in a YouTube video and will still say it. Nigerian athletics is dead without money and home-based competitions, and I don’t mean competitions that pay peanuts,” he wrote.

“Now insult has been added to injury when athletes that make the qualifying standards are told they are only good for African championships.

“If that was the case then only the Americans and Jamaicans would have filled in athletes for the 100m sprints.”

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Team Nigeria to the World Championships are expected to arrive in Nigeria today (Monday) as they prepare to depart for the All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo. The Games will hold from September 4 to 19.

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