Nigeria To The World: A Show at the 2024 Olympics Qualifiers

On the list of local and global events that happens once in four years, the Olympics is a prominent one. The modern Olympic games are the leading international sporting events featuring both the summer and winter editions where athletes from all over the world come around to participate in a variety of competitions. Since 1994, the summer and winter Olympics are alternated every two years, with each holding in a space of 4 years from the last of its kind. On global sports, half the content you see on social media right now, leads to the big event, Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The Paris 2024 Olympics will take place from Friday, July 26 to Sunday, August 11, 2024. And it will be featuring 28 returning sports and 4 new ones – breaking, surfing, skateboarding, and sport climbing.

A mental voyage back to Tokyo 2020 Olympics will remind us of an outing of sad tales for Nigerian athletes. Despite the $2.7 million contract that was signed with PUMA, there were issues of irresponsibility with funds management. Ten of Nigeria’s athletes were disqualified for missing the compulsory Out of Competition Tests – OTC.  Table tennis icon, Aruna Quadri suffered an early defeat, Blessing Okagbare was suspended for testing positive for Growth Hormone and the wrestling goddess, Odunayo Adekuoroye, was defeated. All hell broke loose when Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, the first Nigerian to participate in the final of the Shot-Put event at the Olympics, posted a video of him washing his only competition jersey barely 24 hours before the final. Sadly, he finished bottom of the table at the final. Nigeria eventually found her only medal through Blessing Oborududu, who won the silver medal at the Women’s 68kg Freestyle wrestling event. Four years later, our athletes are pumped and preparations are underway for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Source: Los Angeles Times

At the moment, 18 Nigerian athletes have qualified for the track and field events in the Olympics. To automatically qualify for the Olympics, an athlete has to pass the Olympics qualification standard for that particular event in any of the competitions of the World Athletics Continental Tour. That makes up 50% of the quota for the Olympics. The other 50% is made up by the World Athletics Ranking within the ranking period (1 July, 2023 and 30th June, 2024). For the relays, the top 14 countries in the World Athletics Ranking automatically qualify. 

Oluwatobiloba ‘Tobi’ Amusan, a current world record holder, was the first Nigerian to qualify for Paris 2024 when she struck gold in the Women’s 100m hurdles at the BAUHAUS-Galan Diamond League event in Sweden, on July 2, 2023. She finished the race in 12.52s, beating the Olympics Standard of 12.77s. The 27-year-old from Ijebu-Ode has since improved her time to 12.40s to win the 100m hurdles at the inaugural Jamaica Athletics Invitational in Kingston. Ezekiel Nathaniel, a 400m hurdler, qualified for the Olympics after smashing his own personal record in the Men’s 400m Hurdles at the Tom Jones Invitational in Florida. He ran in a record time of 48.29s, beating the Olympics standard by 0.48s to finish third behind Chris Robinson (47.95s) and Clement Ducos (48.26s). With two record finish time, he currently holds the record of the fastest Nigerian in the history of the event.

Ruth Osoro, who became the first Nigerian to qualify for the Olympics Triple Jump and Long Jump for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, jumped a Personal Best of 6.87m at the Jarvis Scott Open in February, 2024, to secure her ticket to the Olympics. She was one of the athletes who were disqualified for missing OTC tests in Tokyo 2020 and will now seek to make an appearance. Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, is a Nigerian-American track-and-field athlete who competes at throwing events. He was the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medalist. The African Games Champion landed 21.63m at the Hvězdy V Nehvizdech meeting in Czech Republic in February 2024, to finish 2nd behind New Zealand’s Tom Walsh (21.96m) in the Shot-Put event. He beat the Olympics Standard of 21.50m to qualify for Paris 2024. With this, he broke the African Indoor record of 21.47m set by Janus Roberts of South Africa in 2001.

Favour Ashe, popularly known as Ashe Bolt or Nigerian Nightmare, won the Florida Relays in March in a time of 9.97s, beating the Olympics standard of 10.00s to qualify for Paris 2024. With this, he became the world fastest runner in 2024 and the first sub-10s athlete in 2024. His personal best is 9.94s in Lexington, 2024. Ese Brume, the Ughelli-born Nigerian athlete, jumped 6.87m in her third attempt at the Adidas Atlanta City Games, surpassing the Olympics standard by 0.01m and securing her ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympics. She finished behind World Indoor Champion, Tara Davis-Woodhall (7.17m) and Quanesha Burks (6.89m). She now joins Ruth Osoro as the second Nigerian Long Jumper to qualify for the Olympics.

Chidi Okezie won the Men’s 400m event at the Edmonton Athletics Invitational on the 13th of June. The US-born of Nigerian and Jamaican descent finished the race in record time of 44.97s, beating his former personal record of 45.06s seconds which he set at the African Games in Ghana. Okezie also helped Nigeria to secure tickets to the Men’s 4x400m relay and the Mixed 4x400m relay events of the Olympics, after winning at the World Relays in the Bahamas. In both events, the Nigerian team set new records – 3:01.70, the second fastest time ever recorded by a Nigerian 4x400m male team and 3:12:87, the new African record for a Mixed 4x400m team. Other athletes who have secured qualification, as at the time of writing, include: Favour Ofili and Tima Godbless (Women’s 200m), Edose Ibadin (Men’s 800m), Emmanuel Bamidele and Samuel Ogazi (Men’s 400m), Ella Onojuvwevwo (Women’s 400m), Godson Oghenebrume (Men’s 100m), Udodi Unwozurike (Men’s 200m), Temitope Adeshina (Women’s High Jump), Rosemary Chukwuma and Tima Godbless (Women’s 100m), and Ezekiel Nathaniel (Men’s 400m Hurdles).

Entry Standards by World Athletics Council

These athletes will compete at the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) National Trials in Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin. The Trials, which started on Sunday 16th June and will end today, will be used to select athletes who will represent Nigeria at the Olympics, the World U-20 Championship in Peru and the African Championship which will happen later this month in Cameroon.

Emmanuel Ibitunde.


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