Strong Team Nigeria With Strong Expectations At IAAF World Relays

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Team Nigeria are focused on improving on their previous performance in the Women’s 4x100m race in Nassau, Bahamas on Sunday.

The Nigerian women relay team are brimming with confidence following their first-placed finish in a World Lead 1:30.52secs in the 4x200m on Saturday and have said they want to finish off on Sunday as one of the best teams at the sophomore IAAF World Relays.

World 200m bronze medallist Blessing Otegheri née Okagbare led the team on Saturday, as they dethroned the United States of America of the 4x200m title with Jamaica and hosts Bahamas also on the block.

Jamaica finished a distant second in 1:31.73secs and Germany claimed bronze after clocking 1:33.61secs.

Commonwealth 100m and 200m sprint champion Okagbare set the pace for Regina George, Dominique Duncan and Christy Udoh to perfect, as record nine global relay gold medalist, Allyson Felix, and Antonique Stratchan of the Bahamas were left ruing their country’s disqualifications after poor exchanges.

“When I was passing the baton, I didn’t know what position I was in, but I tried to finish strong, to also pass that impluse, set the team for running as fast as we can,” Okagbare told reporters in the mixed zone after their triumph.

Team Nigeria had “strong expectation” prior to Saturday’s victory but felt incomplete without a final berth in the Women’s 4x400m, having finished tenth in the heats, according to George.

“We had strong expectations for the 4x200m today, so I opted for this race. But we definitely expected to qualify for the final in the 4x400m and we didn’t. I’m definitely disappointed about that,” the 24-year-old, who entered for both 4x200m and 4x400m, said.

Nigeria took one of the four gold medals on the offing on Day 1 at the Thomas A. Robinson stadium, as the United States claimed the remainder three to go top of the standings on 24 points with victories in the Men’s 4x800m, the Women’s Distance Medley and the Men’s 4x100m.

Nigeria are 6th in the teams table with eight points and are hopeful in the women’s 4x100m- an event in which they finished just 0.01secs outside the top three a year ago.

“This victory, I can’t say it was unexpected,” George noted. “Everyone comes here with the same mindset – to do our best and to vie for the gold.”

Okagbare concluded: “We have a strong team and we are going to do our best and put up the fight.”

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