This is YOUR lifestyle gallery – of what is new and what is happening in the U.S. And the Black World, not excluding Africa. For this section if you have any news we should know about – let us know at: [email protected]

With a Doping Scandal African Nations Still Readying For Next World Track and Field Championships

A Preview By Ben Edokpayi/Special to The African Times-USA 

At last year’s World Championships at Hayward Field, Oregon the Nigerian team ended with a medals haul of 1 gold, 5 Silver and 5 Bronze in one of its best finishes in decades. The gold medal was won in a World record time of 12:12 Seconds By Tobi Amusan in the 100 meters hurdles.

With barely a month before the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary an unexpected wrinkle has cropped up for the Nigerian team with the threat of a Tobi Amusan ban for non-compliance with test requirements. 

There was no response from the Athletics Federation of Nigeria  for a prepared statement on the likelihood of Amusan’s ban. It’s all up in the air and the situation may very well be altered before the championships.

Notably absent at the three-day World Championship Trials In Benin City, Nigeria was African Champion  and Commonwealth Silver Medallist in the 200 meters Favour Ofili, Commonwealth 4X100 Gold Medal Relay Anchor Rosemary Chwukuma, Long Jump Impressario and Commonwealth and Africa Champion Ese Brume and Raymond Ekevwar the 100 meters gold medallist in the 2019 Rabat, Morocco All Africa Games.

The meet was held between July 5-7 to pick the squad that will represent Nigeria at the World Championships scheduled for Budapest next month, just as the USATF simultaneously concluded similar trials at Hayward Field, Oregon.

In their absence there was still plenty of thrills and excitement and the weather was in compliance as well as clear blue skies enabled athletes to perform to their optimum at the refurbished and resplendent Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium well-managed by Facility Director Victor Edokpayi.

Of course 100 meters Hurdles World Champion Tobiloba Amusan was the cynosure of all eyes after she assisted Edo State Deputy Governor Phillip Shuaibu in a ceremonial 100 meters sprint to kick off the games on Wednesday, July 5. And she did not disappoint in her specialty event as she breasted the tape in 12.7 ahead of Faith Osamuyi (Edo) and Kemi Francis-Peterson, respectively.

Just before the meet and fresh off a deserved break from an amazing 2022 which climaxed with her 12:12 World Record, Amusan clocked 12.47 at the Golden Spike Meet in Ostrava, the Czech Republic.

Amusan was one of several US-based scholars and professional athletes who graced the three-day event. 

The marquee list included Commonwealth silver medallist Chukwuebuka Enekwechi who won the shot put with a heave of 21 meters, 19 year Old Baylor Sophomore Ima Nse Uko who won the 400 meters with a time of 52:07; her school mate Ezekiel Nathaniel competed in the 400 meters won by Chidi Okezie in 45.83. In second and third places were Dubem Nwachukwu and Delta Born Samuel Ogazi, respectively. 

The national record in that event 44:17  set by Innocent Egbunike at the West Klasse Meet in Zurich, Switzerland is unbroken. Egbunike After retiring from competition became a coach. He was coach of the Nigerian track and field team at the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics, and head coach at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He was coach of Angelo Taylor, the gold medalist in the 400m hurdles at the 2008 Summer Olympics, coach of Chris Brown, the fourth-place finisher in the 400m at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Egbunike is currently the head coach of Pasadena City College’s track and field team. 

In the 100 meters sprint Africa Games silver medallist Usheoritse Itsekiri won in 10:02 to meet the standard for the Budapest encounter. Blessing Ogundiran who won the women’s version in a time of 11:5 did not qualify for the Budapest event. Interestingly Sha’carri Richardson aka Itsekiri, a tribe in Delta State, won the 100 meters at the USATF Trials in Oregon on July 8. 

The final day at the USATF Trials was highlighted by the 200m. Gabby Thomas finished ahead of Richardson in the women’s 200m with a time of 21.60 seconds. The time is now the best in the world in the women’s 200m and is Thomas’ personal best.  On the men’s side, Erriyon Knighton won the 200m with a time of 19.72 seconds.

Stanford’s Udodi Onwuzurike with a personal best of 19:76s did not show up in Benin City. With that time he is a shoo-in for the Nigerian team for Budapest, despite claims that his inability to show up in Benin City rules him out. Instead on arrival in Nigeria he waited in Lagos and joined Coach Seigha Porbeni and the Nigerian relay team that competed in Lome, Togo for placements in the relays at the World Championships. 

His father who traveled with him from America was obviously incensed by erroneous reports in some sections of the media that his son did not qualify for the World Championships.

“My son spent five hours flying from San Francisco to Atlanta, and we flew 12 hours to Lagos only for someone to cook up this rubbish story. Udodi is so angry, but I had to calm him down,” he said.

“At the moment, he is the No 2 best 200m runner in the world and has already qualified for the World Championships. But he was so eager to link up with his teammates in Benin City,”said the father.

Nine teams including Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire featured at the Lome event where the quartet of Udodi Onwuzurike, Ushoritse Itsekiri, Alaba Akintola and Seye Ogunlewe raced home first, and moved three places up in the qualification ranking to joint 18th with the Belgian 400 relay team. The Ghana Relay Team with Benjamin Azzamati is also expected to be in Budapest. Benjamin Azzamati is Africa’s best chance for a medal in the 1oo meters in Budapest. The 22 year old eclipsed Leonard Myles-Mills record in the event in 2021.

Azzamati and LSU standout Godson Brume and Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala are the three athletes from Africa with creditable sub .10 times in the marquee track and field event. In Nairobi, Kenya Ferdinand Omanyala qualified for Budapest with a time of 9:85 Seconds. 

Omanyala and Botswana’s Letsile Tobogo who finished second behind Noah Lyles at the London Diamond League (both in record times) are Africa’s best bets for medals in sprint events in Budapest.

In London on July 22nd The Botswanan clocked an outstanding lifetime best of 19.50s for a second-place finish behind world champion Noah Lyles in a world-leading 19.47s, and eclipsed Namibia’s Frankie Fredericks’s long-standing AR of 19.68s set at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.

 Godson Brume is Nigeria’s best chance for a medal in the 100 meters sprint. But he was a no show at the Benin trials in what his sister and Long Jumper Ese Brume was because of travel logistics. 

Sources say Godson Brume missed his flight which became a concern to AFN Officials. “We are very strict about it,” an Official told a local newspaper. “This is not the first time Godson Brume is doing this. How can he miss his flight four times? We were told his school keeps paying money to renew the flight, yet he missed the opportunity. That shows his level of unseriousness.

At press time Athletic Federation of Nigeria Officials did not say whether he will still be on the Nigerian Team. His best time this season was at the Louisiana State University Alumni Gold outdoor classic in Baton Rouge where he clocked a 10.01 Seconds. 

Godson Brume anchored the LSU men’s 4X100 team to a Season’s Best and NCAA Lead of 38.26 seconds in Baton Rouge.

While the 4X100 Men’s relay team had not qualified for the Budapest championships at press time, Nigeria has already clinched three out of the five relay tickets, with successful qualifications in the women’s 4x100m, 4x400m, and mixed relay categories.

The change in qualification standards by the World Athletics Council occurred just before  the WA Relays Guangzhou 23. Originally scheduled for 13-14 May 2023, the competition in China will now be held  April/May 2025. 

The Postponement triggered a new relay qualification process for Budapest. Due to the ongoing pandemic conditions, the decision was taken with the agreement of both the Guangzhou organizing committee (LOC) and the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA), due to the ongoing pandemic conditions.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “It is regrettable when we have to postpone an event. However, World Athletics and the local organising committee are both committed to the responsible planning and delivery of the World Athletics Relays, which includes ensuring that athletes from all international federations are able to participate in and enjoy an experience in a safe and healthy environment.

“I want to thank our colleagues at the Chinese Athletics Association and the LOC for their efforts and cooperation in resolving this situation and look forward to 2025 when our hosts are able to stage a spectacular World Athletics Relays.”

The decision to delay the World Athletics Relays impacts on the qualification system for the relay events at the World Athletics Championships Budapest ’23.

Subscribe to Read and Access Exclusive Contents

Join Business executives, political leaders, experts and top professionals in America, Africa and the rest of the Pan-African World who trust and read The African Times USA always.


Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter and be the first to Receive New Updates.

Your comments, ideas, and thoughts matter.

Drop us a line: