By Albert Akota
Team Nigeria’s preparation for the inaugural edition of the IAAF World Relays, scheduled for May 24 in the Bahamas has suffered a setback, due to injuries sustained by sprinters.
A statement by the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN) yesterday in Lagos named the injured sprinters as Obinna Metu, Bukola Abogunloko, Josephine Ehigie, Ada Benjamin, Rita Ossai and Chukwudike Harry.
It said that in spite of the injuries, the federation was optimistic that the contingent would put up a good show in the event holding at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.
The statement disclosed that female quarter-miler, Patience Okon, was set to leave Nigeria for the U.S. on Wednesday alongside winner of the men’s 400m in the last Golden League, Omeiza Akerele.
According to the statement, they are meant to boost the team’s chances in Bahamas.
It said that the AFN President, Solomon Ogba, thanked Nigerians for their support, saying that the federation would assess the strengths of the country’s relay teams in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.
According to the statement, Ogba expresses high hopes that the athletes will recover in time for the All-Nigeria National Athletics Championships in Calabar, Cross River in June.
The IAAF Relays has attracted teams from more than 40 nations with over 500 athletes, who form the best relay quartets on the planet, including powerhouses like the U.S. Jamaica and Russia.
The innovative two-day competition will see men and women compete in the 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1500m in front of sell-out crowds.
It said that a total prize of 1.4 million dollars was in the offering as the first three teams stood a chance of winning 50,000 dollars, 30,000 dollars and 20,000 dollars, respectively.
Teams occupying the fourth to eighth positions are to get 12,000 dollars, 10,000 dollars, 8,000 dollars, $6,000 dollars and 4,000 dollars.
Teams that break world record in Nassau would be awarded a 50,000 dollars bonus by the IAAF.
The top eight teams in the 4x100m and 4x400m will automatically qualify for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.