After three decades, the African record in the women’s 4x100m event has been broken.
During the women’s 4x100m final at the World Championships in Oregon, the quartet of Joy Udo-Gabriel, Favour Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, and Grace Nwokocha ran a race of their lives early Sunday morning and broke the record.
They ran 42.22 seconds faster than their compatriots, Christy Opara-Thompson, Faith Idehen, Beatrice Utondu, and Mary Onyali, who ran 42.39 seconds faster at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, where Nigeria finished third.
A few people questioned Udo-decision Gabriel’s to join the team, but she silenced them once again with a strong first leg race before handing the baton to Ofili, who kept the momentum going.
For the third leg, Chukwuma was in charge, and she performed well before handing the reins over to Nwokocha, who nailed it.
Even though the Nigerian women set a new world record time of 41.14 seconds, they were still unable to finish on the podium as the United States claimed victory with a time of 41.14 seconds.
Second and third place went to Jamaica and Germany, respectively.
The Nigerian women’s relay team made its first appearance in the final of the World Championships in 11 years on Sunday.
A stroke of good fortune
Nigeria had originally been denied entry to the women’s relay events in Oregon, but they snuck in by stealth.
Blessing Okagbare was found guilty of additional doping violations, and as a result, Nigeria was disqualified from the final qualifying spot for the Oregon Games.
At the Yabatech Sports Complex in Lagos, Okagbare and three other competitors ran a time of 42.97 seconds, which had kept them in the last qualification spot until the unfortunate turn of events.
However, France, one of the 16 teams that had qualified ahead of Nigeria, withdrew, allowing Nigeria to not only join the competition but also to set a new African record in the process.
This week’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and subsequent global meets, including the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, could provide Nigeria’s women’s relay team with an opportunity to redeem themselves after missing out on a medal in Oregon.