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Olympics set back for Nigeria as 4x400m team is disqualified



World Athletics has reportedly disqualified the Nigerian women’s 4x400m team from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics following some technical errors in the race where they secured qualification at the Lagos Open Athletics Championships on June 24.

According to reports by The Punch, the Nigerian quartet – Nse Imaobong, Favour Ofili, Knowledge Omovoh, and Patience Okon-George –  at the event held at the Teslim Balogun Stadoum, ran a season’s Best 3:26.83.

By the win,  Nigeria climbed to 13th on the WA Top List from the 18th position they initially occupied.

According the report, the World Athletics did not give reasons for the country’s disqualification,but  findings by The Punch showed that the result was not ratified by WA, who didn’t reflect the qualification results on the Road to Tokyo tool used to determine qualified athletes on their website, when the final list was published on Thursday.

A source in the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, who spoke to The Punch on condition of anonymity, said WA disqualified the race after one of the countries seeking qualification with Nigeria petitioned them over glaring technical errors in the race.

“The race has been disqualified; one of the countries on the Top List was pushed out of qualification places, while we went up.


“So, the country sent the race video to World Athletics. “In curve races, the results don’t count if there are no cones. In Team Nigeria’s case, they didn’t put cones where the second leg diverted to lane one, that’s the error.

“It is a shame that we are saying this out; that people who call themselves professionals handled things this way. It was the same reason they did not accept the Asaba race (2018 African Athletics Championships), once there are no cones round or there are no railings, it wouldn’t be accepted,” our source said.

A coach and statistical analyst Lekan Soetan, added, “There’s a rule that all races on bends must be run with kerbs to prevent runners from running inside the inner lane. “Meaning there’s no proof that all runners in that race didn’t break the bend rule since there was no kerb on the bend to ascertain that.”

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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