Expect improved relay teams at Lagos Invitational, Ogba tells Nigerians |

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Solomon Ogba

Urges athletes to perfect baton exchange

Former President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Solomon Ogba, has promised that Team Nigeria’s relay teams at the Lagos Invitational, tomorrow, would be different from the one that participated in the National Trials on Sunday at Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH).

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The teams failed to take advantage of the AFN Olympic Trials and Invitational Relays at Yaba Tech to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, but they now have one last opportunity to make amends. Three African countries, Senegal, Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire, who participated in the Invitational Relays at YABATECH, will also feature in the one-day Lagos Invitational holding at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

Four out of the five relay teams that Team Nigeria is hoping to present at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will get the final chance to get their tickets to the quadrennial event tomorrow. Nigeria’s women’s 4x100m relay team is the only one that has provisionally qualified for the Olympics.

Ogba told The Guardian yesterday that the relay teams, particularly the men and women 4x100m squads, would book their ticket tomorrow.

“Our women 4x100m team is sure of the ticket and I am very sure the men’s 4x100m will join them on Thursday (tomorrow). The other three teams (men and women’s 4x400m and the mixed 4x400m relay) can pull a big surprise on Thursday (tomorrow).”

Ogba, who is the vice president of Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC), added: “The same athletes who ran the men’s 4x100m relay on Sunday may still be the ones who will grab the ticket on Thursday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. They have been training hard, and they want to be in Tokyo for the Olympics. I am sure they will get the ticket.”

At Invitational Relays held at YABATECH on Sunday, the women’s 4x100m team, led by Blessing Okagbare, further staked their claim to one of the available two slots in the event by moving one step up from 16th to 15th position following their 42.97seconds return. The men’s team still has a lot to do to outrun Trinidad and Tobago, which is currently occupying the final qualification (16th) spot. Nigeria’s men’s 4x100m has to run within the 38.46seconds, which is the time that has provisionally qualified Trinidad and Tobago for Tokyo.

Ogba is of the opinion that the team can run much faster than the 39.40seconds it ran on Sunday. He urged the athletes to perfect their baton exchange.

The women’s 4x400m team will have to break 3.29 seconds to be in Tokyo. The team is currently down by one step to 18th after Belarus and Switzerland moved into 13th and 15th spots respectively following their impressive performances at the weekend.

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