It was a moment of celebration at the Yabatech Sports Complex, venue of the Inaugural Paga/MoC Relay, after the country’s 4x400m mixed relay team secured qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as the men’s 4x100m failed to hit the standard.
Expectations were high as the final day for qualification remains few days away and a final opportunity for the teams to secure the standard that will push them to top 16 in the world.
While the 4x100m men ran two races making it six races in eight days starting with the Olympic Trials and later the Lagos Open before the Paga/ MoC Relay, they could only achieved a Season Best of 38.53secs when a 38.40secs could have push them to the 16th position ahead of Trinidad and Tobago, currently occupying the last qualifying spot.
On the other hand, with the 4x400m men not competing, all eyes were on the mixed relay team and they didn’t disappoint the crowd at the venue run- ning a new National Record 3:14.09 to move to the 15th position in the world, pushing Czech Republic to the 16th position.
Speaking after the race, one of the runners, Patience Okon-George, who ran the race of her life to set the pace for Chidi Okezie who ran the final 400m said it was another joy for her after helping the 4x400m women secure qualifications for the Games. “Foremost I want to thank God Almighty for helping us through with this qualification,” she said.
“We didn’t allow the pressure to get to us and how I would have love the men’s 4x100m also to have qualified. “We have been training together in the last one week since the Olympic Trials and I am happy that it finally paid off. “The key thing for us now is to continue working together and I am sure we are going to achieve something great in Tokyo.”